Sometimes, all you need is good stoner rock. I find that there are moods when nothing else suffices; it’s usually hot and languid outside. Maybe (definitely) I’m hungover because I haven’t yet realized that I’m 31 and I can’t pull off stuff like drinking an entire bottle of whiskey before a work day anymore. Whatever it is (a mystery!), stoner rock really vibes with those sensations of being stretched thin and does a lot to soothe me, chiming away at the same temp as my struggling mind. Arbouretum were the latest band to provide me such respite, with their 2011 album, The Gathering. Let’s head on over the jump for your first taste and circle back to do some more talking. Enjoy, and bring your best “Sunday afternoon mood”.
Oof, right? The friends in Arbouretum have been around for a while, a little over a decade, and have plenty of releases under their belt. However, I find The Gathering to be their best release, a perfect balance between the rawness and fuzz of their releases and the polished productions of their later work. Both those things blend so well on opening “The White Bird”; you can make out each note and drum hit but there’s also a sensation of blending, of everything musical swimming in one big cauldron of sound. That’s probably down to the exceptional guitar tones and how they pleasingly overpower everything by the time everything is done.
The album also has some folk influences, often exemplified through the exceptional vocals (a good example can be found just one track over, on “When Delivery Comes”). These vocals have some of the usual drawl that’s common in stoner rock but they channel different traditions of American singer/songwriters like Townes van Zandt. All in all, the end formula is an immensely pleasant and moving blend of Americana, folk, stoner rock and guitar driven prog rock. When the rays of the sun hit deep and the heat seems to possess everything, pour yourself a cold drink, fix yourself the poison of your choice, lay back and let Arbouretum wash over you.