Music Review//Port St Willow - Holiday

Emerging over twelve often claustrophobic but always engrossing tracks Holiday, the latest release from Port St Willow, is an album that grows on the listener in the same organic way that a lichen grows on a tree.

You may suggest that to be a somewhat strange metaphor for the listening experience but Holiday is an album that takes a few listens to grow into and appreciate. There's a delicate, contemplative vibe to the production with chamber music like atmos and oceanic effects creating an environment that welcomes and warms as much as it slows the often hectic experience of album listening down to a gentle pace in a beautiful landscape. 

If you close your eyes and let your imagination wander you may just find yourself in an icy but beautiful Scadinavian landscape under a blue sky with no idea where you are and why you're there but no inclination to find out either. This is the kind of music that is subtle enough to keep you riveted but never in your face enough to distract you from listening to it. The undulating synth backdrop to On Your Side is beauty enough to merit the whole album and when the trumpets kick in you're reminded of the beautiful non-conformity of a certain Icelandic singer's recent experimentations in sound. 

Highlights include the haunting Put The Armor On The Mantle, with the lingering harpsichord and sparse guitar chords balancing well against the ethereal vox that carry the whole album along beautifully. With a little more weight to it's sound Orphan is a great listen and with the experimentation in full flow the closer Soft Light Rush enters art rock territory for a 25 minute ambient suite that will surely calm even the most unsettled of listeners into a mellow daze. 

Holiday is just the record you need if you're looking for a soundtrack to explore scenic fjords or desolate landscapes swathed in serene beauty and as such we recommend it wholeheartedly. Sound artist Nick Principe has truly produced a work of astounding beauty. The title says it all in inference and literary interpretation - relax, listen and picture your favorite place...

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan. 

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