The Gathering is an album which sort of creeps up on you. On first contact you're half suspecting another homage to that specific sound redolent of the early 1970s - and if you immediately put it on that pile of all those other 'redolent of the 1970s' albums you own then you'll go away none the wiser. But wait! Give the album time to insinuate and charm - there are rewards aplenty. Yes, there's a heavy folkish influence (no bad thing) and the guitar sound is deliciously fruity but Arbouretem are not in the business of replicating a soundworld which had its heyday some 40 years ago. They've produced a distinctive set of songs and anchored them to a guitar and keyboard narrative which at times is bewitching and intoxicating. Best tracks? 'When Delivery Comes' builds slowly then flowers euphorically - a joy. 'Destroying to Save'- a song which seems to deny that the 80s, 90s and Noughties ever happened! David Heumann's vocals are effortlessly seductive - ditto for 'The Highwayman'. 'Waxing Crescents' - mesmerising martial beat topped off with a dollop of psychedelia - heaven. The Empty Shell - love to hear this one live - fabulous stuff. When that guitar riff and beat starts to go through the gears you'll experience a tingling sensation down the back of your spine.
In short, this album is a revelation. Oh, and one last thing - play it loud.