An incredible debut from the elusive Matthew Barnes' Forest Swords, `Daggers Path' fuses drone/folk/lo-fi undertones with modern R'nB and dubstep's use of rhythm and space. A mixture of Burial, Pan American and Ennio Morricone is close to describing Barnes' sound, songs with soulful ghostly vocals, melancholy landscapes and urban paranoia.
I have to admit that when i first heard the EP when it was initially released, i didn't find it very interesting. But then came the superb single `Rattling cage', my favourite single of 2010, and i quickly went back to the album to try it again. For some reason it just made more sense this time, i don't know why! Barnes' guitar sound is wiry, stabbed, reverb-heavy low-end bolts of noise. Add some forceful, rumbling basslines and a subtle use of space and echo reminiscent of the best of Jamaican dub, which work so well on tracks like `Hoylake Misst' with its beating rhythms, warped percussion and guitar drones. Album highlight `Hjurt' floats and hisses for five blissful minutes. `The last 2 tracks, "If Your Girl" and "The Light.", are more textural ghostly treatments, the latter a more propulsive decaying sound reminiscent of early Third Eye Foundation. Forest Swords has been building a loyal following and long may it continue, a delightful record.