This Three Cane Whale article was written by Adam Jones, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.
‘Palimpsest’ is the latest offering from the talented trio of musicians better known as Three Cane Whale. This light, breezy and largely acoustic album makes it clear that the group create their music in an incredibly assured way. After honing their talents with the self-titled debut and 2013’s ‘Holts and Hovers’, ‘Palimpsest’ has a central sound that drives this solid album.
The album is bookended by the simple, stripped back trumpet intro ‘Standing Sun Fanfare’ and the beautifully mellow closer ‘Gospel Pass’. These tracks set the scene for the rest of the album and are a fairly good indication of what to expect from the other tracks. The brass playing is particularly impressive. Pete Judge creates a beautiful tonality on tracks like ‘Brute Angels’ and ‘The Bronze Sounding’. The euphonium/tenor horn melody line of the former is an undeniable high point. Furthermore, tracks like ‘Moon in A Bottle’, ‘Red Bank’ and ‘The Hare At Daggers Gate’ are highly evocative and great examples of the possibility of creating clear stories through sound and instrumentation alone. Additionally, the blending of strings, piano and brass instrumentation with other sounds (like birdsong and train engines) make the latter section of the album a more interesting and varied listen.
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‘Palimpsest’ shifts between longer and shorter tracks, but taken as a whole, it is a large body of work. It’s potentially a tad too long and a touch repetitive in places, though; some of the miniatures seem superfluous, while some other tracks are easily forgettable as they merge into one another. Whilst this does provide a coherent overall sound, it means that several tracks fail to stand out and have the impact that they could have.
Overall, the quality of these thee instrumentalists’ craft is undeniable. However, ‘Palimpsest’ suffers from too many tracks of middling quality that fail to make the same impact as stronger tracks, leading to a somewhat uneven album. Ultimately ‘Palimpsest’, whilst providing an overall pleasant listening experience, is not going to make huge waves on the music scene.
Still, in a world that’s now so heavily reliant on computer generated sounds, it is heartening to see a talented band exploring the core organic instrumentation that make music what it is.
‘Palimpsest’ is available now via Idyllic Records.