Arbouretum Long Live the Well-Doer

With the Asian art on the cover and the sitar chiming in at the beginning, there was a slight tinge of unease, as only George Harrison — and arguably Papa M — makes the sitar into a viable instrument in modern music. Luckily it was only a one-off experiment, but there are many of these tests happening within Arbouretum, along with numerous guests, the most notable being Ned Oldham. An indie rock sound bubbles beneath the slight harmonies on "Jonas Got a Tooth,” but it’s the beautiful, haunting and aptly titled "I Am a Somnabulist” that truly reveals there might be something special happening here. Two guitars simply play off one another, until a slight echoing effect turns things on their head, leading into a lulling electric guitar and aching violin. From here on, things start to get better, as another fine instrumental pops up its head in "Wisteria,” again gaining power from the strong guitar interplay and subtle feedback and electronics. When it comes to straightforward songs, "Early Bird Gets the Worm” sets the tone, with a rootsy vocal delivery and simple rock structure that seems to get better with every listen. In fact, Long Live the Well-Doer truly is a bit a bloomer and giving the time to appreciate the interesting and varied ideas will delight those with a taste for off-kilter, yet still honest, music. (Box Tree)