Arbouretum a bit at the beginning of May, and having just listened to The Gathering again, I think they deserve another mention. I'd been listening to their cover of The Highwaymen ("The Highwayman") a lot recently, and I really enjoy it. The really laid back and spacey style is really well conveyed. It made me want to listen to their album as a whole over again, so that's what I did.
There is just something about David Heumann's voice (he's the singer, by the way) that really makes this record what it is. His cool, melodic-yet-monotone style just washes over you like a gentle silk sheet. I think he truly makes The Gathering an enjoyable record. Sure, they could have gotten another singer who may have been just as good, the music just as listenable, but with Heumann they have something special. I don't think this album sung any other way would be nearly as listenable.
Aside from "The Highwayman" - which I love for the story and illustration (I know I can't really count Arbouretum in for that) - I also loved "The While Bird," "When Delivery Comes," and "The Empty Shell;" these songs best capture Arbouretum's psychedelic stoner style. I'm sure I will add to this list as The Gather gets more and more listens. I think it took me a bit to get used to their particular style - mostly because I usually listen to music with a much harsher edge - and listening to "The Highwayman" over and over probably softened that initial blow, allowing more more freedom and less adaption time.
Looking for some more information on Arbouretum, I discovered that they have two previous releases, Song of The Pearl (2009) and Rites of Uncovering (2007), which I must now have. I do have to laugh at these Pitchfork reviews (The Gathering - 4.9, Rites of Uncovering - 7.6, Song of The Pearl - 5.8) because with as low as they rated The Gathering, I'm looking much more forward to Song of The Pearl then Rites of Uncovering. If you score this one low, I'm interested in what changes they made that you would score higher. Just intrigued.
Arbouretum is quickly growing on me, I can't get enough of that cover, and their style as a whole. I need to hear their earlier works and digest their entire career, but until then I'll have The Gathering on repeat. It's always nice when you find a good band, but it's awesome when you discover a good band that brings something different to the table. Arbouretum is that band.