Underground Sounds: The Huntress and Holder of Hands – Avalon

Label: Supply and Demand Music
Band: The Huntress and Holder of Hands
Origin: United States

When David Lamb passed away, the band Brown Bird ceased to be. After years of making music together with MorganEve Swain, this was the end of the group under this moniker. It’s a sad story and the early death of Lamb due to leukemia is the story no one hopes to ever have to experience with a loved one in their lives. But what would be the best way to then honor the deceased? I always think it’s in continuing the work you’ve set yourself to, which is what MorganEve did.

The Huntress and Holder of Hands is the shape of what follows. Folk and blues meet on indie turf, with the sound of a haunting autumn day. I find this record exceptional, which the story behind it only emphasized. After years of collaborating, Swain marches on alone and that is the brave thing to do. It results in a magnificent record. The title is that of the lost realm of Avalon, a mythical place connected to the Arthur myth. Always in our minds, but never to be attained again.

I have to say, that the folky blues combination of The Huntress and Holder of Hands is something special. With stylistic links to groups like Neutral Milk Hotel and maybe even Stornoway, their folk has something of a forest on a sunny autumn day. The sound is continuously flowing, while simultaneously bewildering and haunting you, as would be the buzzing liveliness of the forest. There’s a sense of departure, when Swain sings on ‘Borealis’: “Cut the ties that bind us. My chest will cease to rise. Bear in mind my likeness eternal in your eyes.” The words would appear to say enough.

The singing is weary and laborious at times, betraying the struggle inherent to the emotional charge of this record. From the meanderings of ‘Severed Soul’ to the string sections on ‘√ątude’, there is a continuous flow of feeling in the album. I also have to say the sound is groovy, languid and remarkably catchy with its bluesy passages. The vocals just linger in the air, with the right timbre to really team up with the music. It’s a remarkable record, that I could listen to again and again.

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