The Clearing, Bowerbirds‘ third album, wastes no time taking hold. Opener “Tuck the Darkness In” is an absolute stunner that starts of quiet and slowly blooms into something beautiful. The rest of the album follows suit.
The sound here is a more polished than the group’s previous efforts. A few new aspects are added, such as electric guitar riffs on “In the Yard,” and a rousing clap line on “Stitch the Hem.” All the instrumentation works wonderfully together. Moore’s voice and guitar are relied on less heavily, making space for some of the new sounds, which is a nice change of pace. The album is lush, with sounds at every turn for the listener to focus on. It makes for an enjoyable listening experience as every song feels varied from minute to minute. The structure of the songs is also quite brilliant. The songs rise and fall at the perfect moments, instruments are added or taken away at the right moments, everything works.
At the heart of the album, as it has always been with Bowerbirds, is Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, and they’re spectacular harmonies. Fans of the band already know that Moore has one of the best voices in all of folk, but here we learn that his partner is something special as well. Unlike albums past, Tacular takes center stage on a few songs, and more than holds her own. Tracks “In the Yard” and “Hush” put her beautiful vocals on full display. The two voices also work beautifully together. Much like the vocalists for Of Monsters & Men, it’s as if Moore and Tacular are vocal soul mates. They complement each other brilliantly. Continue reading