Dunbarrow - Dunbarrow II LPRiding Easy Records
There’s a hauntingly classic feel to Dunbarrow’s sound that gives it, in the band’s own words, “an eerie rawness.” It’s not raw in a lo-fi or distorted sense—far from it, the production is exceptionally clean and powerful. It’s the vibe to the music that has a dreamlike and ghostly quality, like a mysterious recording imprinted onto an old cassette tape. The band’s pristine, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors jamming in basements and barns.
Without the Haugesund, Norway quintet’s exceptional musicianship, such an intimate sound would be impossible. Drummer Pål Gunnar Dale sets the skeletal core with driving urgency and tastefully punctuating triplet fills, bassist Sondre Berge Engedal slinks throughout with the limber bounce of John Paul Jones, while Kenneth Lønning’s and Eirik Øvregård’s guitars weave dark, bluesy tapestries with emphasis on melodic chord structures without burying them in distortion or other effects. Vocalist Espen Andersen ties it all together with his warm, folky delivery that gives it all the feel of a bygone era of storytelling in song.
“Maybe more than the previous record, this one is more vocal driven,” Lønning says. “But it still has those quirky transitions, eerie build ups, folk-inspired parts and the haunting solos.” Many of the album’s poetic lyrics were written by former bassist / vocalist Richard Chappell, whose writing personifies the group. Along with the album’s running theme of love and despair, is that of recognizing one’s own dark sides and developing those shadows into something one can control, inspired of the work by Carl Jung.
Key to the band’s impressive sound is that the singer is also the recording and mixing engineer. To further perfect their sound, the group teamed up with one of the most prominent producers in Norway, Christer Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) for the first few days in order to get the sound just right. Then, Espen did the rest. The result is as eponymous and definitive as its title.