On their charming new album The Clearing, the Bowerbirds stick to the formula that gained them acclaim on their previous records, Upper Air and Hymns for a Dark Horse. On first listen it appears to be a tribute to their past glories, which is certainly no bad thing. But what is refreshing is that the band seems to have gone that extra mile to create an even more innovative collection of songs than before.
A bigger recording budget is evident in a much grander overall sound. In songs such as the delightful opening, ‘Tuck the Darkness In’, lead singer, Moore’s stunning vocals soar over the gorgeous string section and it is moments like this that show Bowerbirds at their peak.
One thing that the band does brilliantly is beautiful harmonies that add that extra bit of splendour to the finely-crafted songs. Moore and Tacular’s voices fit perfectly together and create a piece of sombre magic. In particular, ‘Stitch the Hem’ and ‘Brave World’ showcase the stunning vocals on display.
The album loses momentum towards the end but that is not to take away from the intensity and brilliance of the first half. Fortunately, it does pick up with the wonderful final number, ‘Now We Hurry On’. The finale of The Clearing has all the ingredients that symbolize the whole of the record – quirkiness, intricate musicality, lush vocals and great songmanship.
This album goes a long way to show off just how far Bowerbirds have come in the six years of their existence. It seems that they have fulfilled all the promise and expectations that have been piled upon them. It is a great record that will be listened to again and again. I can’t wait for the fourth.
Words: Carly Goodman