Published Sep 14, 2015Switzerland's Reichenbach Falls feature prominently in English pop culture: J. M. W. Turner painted the liquid landscape more than once; Sherlock Holmes famously sent his nemesis Professor Moriarty to his death over the falls in the 1890s; BBC dramas borrowed the title; and now, a hybrid Oxford-Canadian band has entered the fray.
The Traitor Shore, the second album by alt-folk, borderline folk-rock outfit Reichenbach Falls is worthy of its artistic heritage. Fittingly, the ten tracks here have a literary sensibility to them; the storytelling is fresh and compelling, and like any good serial, different parts of the same story are spread out over more than one track (see "Orphans," "Long Distance Buses" and "Branches"). The only thing missing is the melodrama.
For a band that operates as a collective, albeit led by the half-Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Abe Davies, the sound is smooth, cohesive and refreshingly upbeat. Piano, drums and acoustic guitar serve the ebb and flow of the stories without disturbing the peace. Only time — and maybe more late nights and bourbon — will tell where on the Tom Waits' spectrum Davies' voice will end up.
If Reports of Snow, the band's 2013 debut, was a break-up album, The Traitor Shore fills the time and space in between. Standout tracks "Departure Lounge," "Magic" and "Migrator" create an overarching theme of moving on, though the last track, "Canada," makes it clear that the soon-to-be St. Andrews, Scotland-based Davies isn't headed back to this neck of the Commonwealth anytime soon.
Reconsider? We could use your clear eyes and level head right about now. (Independent)