Announce new album A Northern View
Due out via Rollercoaster Records on 7 February 2020
“Taxi” is the first single to be taken from the breathtaking new album, A Northern View, by Northern Ireland’s Arborist. A stand-out, jolt-from-the-blue, set-piece, “Taxi” is a spoken word epic story inspired by Arab Strap, Belle and Sebastian and James Yorkston, who have made the droll Scottish storyteller’s delivery a constant. As singer-songwriter Mark McCambridge explains; “I wanted to do something similar with the Northern Irish voice. It’s a story about a claim from my Dad’s cousin and good friend through his youth, Henry McQuillan, that he conceived the idea of turning a famous Irish traditional song into a rock song.”
The video for “Taxi” stars Dublin actor Barry Ward who was recently in The Capture (BBC), Irish movie Extra Ordinary and has been the lead in Jimmy’s Hall by Ken Loach, amongst many other projects.The powerful video captures the intense mood of the song, with the light-relief pay-off at the end. It was shot in Belfast and created by London-based director Sam O’Mahony who said, “The song has such a strong narrative that I felt, rather than literally reflect the words, we would create our own piece of visual poetry to exist alongside the track without competing with it. Initially, we thought of just having Barry Ward representing Henry, but instead went slightly further and created a kind of time-jumping ballet in which Henry’s memories exist in various dimensions, moving past each other unaware until they are ultimately drawn together.”
Arborist will be hitting the road in Jan/Feb with critically acclaimed Canadian psych-folk second-cousins Kacy & Clayton.
Fri 16th Nov 2019 – Ulster Sports Club, BELFAST
Fri 31st Jan 2020 – The Band Room – LOW MILL, YORKSHIRE [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Sat 1st Feb 2020 – Northern Rock Foundation Hall, GATESHEAD [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Tues 4th Feb 2020 – The Railway Inn, WINCHESTER [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Wed 5th Feb 2020 – Mothers Ruin, BRISTOL [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Thurs 6th Feb 2020 – Fat Lils, WITNEY [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Fri 7th Feb 2020 – St Davids City Hall, St Davids, WALES [w/ Kacy & Clayton]
Fri 14th Feb 2020 – PhilGrimes, WATERFORD, IRELAND
Fri 15th Feb 2020 – Set Theatre, KILKENNY, IRELAND
A Northern View encapsulates a time and place, the here and now, for better or worse. Rich in melody and mood, it is resplendent with lush arrangements and underpinned by an uneasiness that unsettles the listener just when they’ve been lured in. Complex, literary and political, Mark McCambridge has produced the album that is needed from the place where he is from, at the very time when uncertainty abounds. It is a paean to this part of world at an unsettled and unsettling moment.
Arborist came to the attention of the critics with their debut single, the Americana tinged 2015 debut single “Twisted Arrow”, that features an astonishing duet with Kim Deal of The Breeders. Their 2016 debut album Home Burial was nominated for the Northern Irish Music Prize and released to critical acclaim, with Mojo hailing it as “a staggering debut of depth and substance” and The Guardian calling it an “instant classic.”Uncut described the lead single, “A Man Of My Age”, as articulating, “the claustrophobia of family life with sensitive frankness amid a mesmerizing Smog-like languor”.
Joining Mark McCambridge in Arborist are James Heaney on bass (nephew of the late poet laureate Seamus Heaney), Jonny Ash on guitar (who has a knack of disrupting the mood and taking it elsewhere) and Richard Hill on piano/organ. For the new album they were also joined by violinist Emma Smith (Noel Gallagher, James Yorkston, Bas Jan, Seamus Fogarty), who underpinned much of the mood with her mesmerizing string composistions. As with their first LP, it was produced by Ben McAuley though this time recorded in the idyllic surroundings of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Wiltshire.
Thematically the album can’t help but draw from the time and place where it was created. A Northern View is an ode to Northern Ireland and a reaction against what McCambridge calls the “abomination of Brexit”. Arborist wrote the soundtrack to the recent film Brexit: A Cry From The Irish Border by Clare Dwyer Hogg narrated by Stephen Rea, and the themes are continued in the album. As McCambridge says; “It was the numbness and confusion of things I wanted but uniquely, especially in recent years, from the viewpoint of this part of the world.”
A Northern View portrays a raw darkness but with glimpses of beauty at the heart of it all; the kind of balance found in records like Wilco’s A Ghost is Born or Songs Ohia’s Magnolia Electric Co. The album title felt like a nice way of framing all that came-out, like a clandestine publication of some kind. Though as McCambridge explains; “I recently discovered it’s a caravan park in Donegal, so there you go.”
ArboristA Northern ViewTracklisting:
1. A Stranger Heart
2. Here Comes the Devil
3. The Guttural Blues
5. From the Sagging Bough of a Maple
6. By Rote
7. The Dark and the Moon
8. Don’t Let the Sky Take Me
9. Can I Add You to My Will
10. Too Much On My Mind
11. A Northern View