The Douglas Firs – Haunting Through EP Review

Standard

The Douglas Firs hail from Aberdeen – giving me a nice chance to escape from the usual haunts, at least in my ears – and are Neil Insh, along with whatever friends he could round up to help out.

This EP opens in an unusual style, with the crunch of footsteps, drumming in the background gradually getting louder, along with chatter building up too, before bursting into folky accordian and violin. The effect makes you feel like you’ve wandered into a warm, welcoming pub somewhere, and for the next 20 minutes or so of the EP you are unlikely to want to leave. The song – The Quickening – goes through sporadic shifts, the folky part at the beginning dying out only to reappear later, vocal sing-alongs, bursts of applause, before wandering into soundscape territory with more footsteps, creaking gates, hooting owls and all sorts. It is a bold song that can make me think of both the best forgotten sequel to Highlander and the opening of Wham’s Club Tropicana yet still be compelling listening, but The Quickening does so in fine style.
Future State follows on, a short burst of ambiance and atmosphere, before Grow Old And Go Home introduces layers of sounds including a more electronic feel, and some luscious horns. Grow Old And Go Home at times feels like it could be two or three songs fighting each other from prominence in the mix, but avoids sounding cluttered or messy in the process. Again, another soundscape ending to this song leads straight into the final track, Soporific.
Soporific much in common with the preceding songs, starting with a lengthy understated intro, building atmosphere before exploding into life with a squeal of feedback around halfway through for a big chorus full of melody and instrumentation, then slowly fading off back into nothingness.
Haunting Through is frequently very sparse and at other times bursting at the seams with things going on, but the entire EP feels very organic, each part growing naturally from the others. There’s a great sense of atmosphere, and a wonderful feel of a little surprise lurking just round the corner throughout, all of which makes Haunting Through a delight to listen to.
The Douglas Firs: MySpaceBlog
The Douglas Firs – Haunting Through EP is available as a free download, visit the blog for details.