Saturday 22 September 2012

Chelsea Wolfe - Appalachia

Single review by KevW

You're probably not expecting a song called 'Appalachia' to be a black metal opus are you? The area has become synonymous with acoustic guitars, beards, campfires, "canoeing music" and bands and artists with animals in their name. This new single from Californian songstress Chelsea Wolfe is lifted from her forthcoming album 'A Collection Of Acoustic Songs' and that name does a fine job of describing this track. Black metal it is not. As far as we know Ms Wolfe has never had a beard but all other boxes are ticked for this to fit our categorisation fairly well, but where Fleet Foxes and so on have gone big with the panoramic harmonies and canyon-echoing choruses, 'Appalachia' is a little more subdued and a little more haunting, therefore it comes across as having an intimacy and soul-bearing quality that sucks you into its world for a few minutes.

The guitar is used in an almost meditative state, it's a droning buzz in the background as opposed to conventional strumming and this results in a wholly unique and very captivating atmosphere. Strings come and go like spirits floating around that campfire and again these are restrained and the sound held back where some would smother it. The drums are rattling instead of sharp and the occasional twang of a guitar string compliments this approach wonderfully. We're overrun with troubadours and folk groups right now, but Chelsea Wolfe is giving us a reason to believe that the acoustic guitar can be a force for good when used well and here she summons up a brilliantly dark and enchanting world. Let's hope for more of the same when the album is released in mid October.

Chelsea Wolfe's website

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