Arch Garrison- King Of The Down

posted 24 Feb 2010, 10:23 by Joe Richardson
[Double Six Records]
Released: 22nd February 2010

by Leon Rightback

Arch Garrison are North Sea Orchestra's Craig and Sharron Fortnam who's style will be instantly recognisable to fans of their other band. Where Arch Garrison differ is in their sparser arrangements which sees Craig's guitar and vocals accompanied by simple percussion, synths and Philicordia organ which creates a airy, open feel to the songs and allows the songs to float along at a pace that feels like it is being determined by the instrument themselves. Otherwise this really is a much pared down version of North Sea Orchestra.
Opening track "King Of The Down" sets the tone and feel for the album with complex picking and chord patterns over the top of a more simple organ progression. "Roman Road" is a beautifully put together track which focuses Sharron's beautifully and slightly haunting vocals over the stop of plucked guitars and organ. The whole feel to the track is very oldie worlde and has a slightly magical feel to it.
The stand out track on the album has to be "These Days Don't Feel The Same" with Craig's beautiful finger picked guitar occasionally giving way to a small blast of a rather squelchy sounding synth. Other tracks deal with subjects as unusual as ditches and mounds to the more usual vapour trails and mental un-health.
One thing that I feel must be said about "King Of The Down" is that it feels like a very English folk record and I half expected a version of "Greensleeves" to pop up. This isn't a bad thing as you kind of had the idea when listening to North Sea Orchestra that this would be a direction that could be taken if they lost the layers of orchestration that sat on top of many tracks.
In all Arch Garrison's "King Of The Down" is a very well put together album and a nice listen at that. It revels in it's simplicity and does not move in to anything too flash and over blown which retains the mood and ambience of the record.