» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Rites of Uncovering
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

April 20, 2007
When I first heard Dave Heumann, I was struck by the Arboretum frontman's lulling similarities to folkies Will Oldham and Jason Molina in particular. Like Oldham and Molina, Huemann has a wounded but stoic quality inherent in his songwriting. There is one primary difference between Huemann and his peers though - his mournful syrup-sipping voice. On Rites of Uncovering, Huemann attempts to coax listeners to take rest in his fuzzy blanket of melodic folk and, for the most part, succeeds.

Here is what you need to know about Arbouretum: They take their time getting to the point. These songs are gorgeous and the band knows how to milk the beauty for all it's worth. In fact, Rites of Uncovering seems to be an album's worth of homage to Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" - several minutes of plodding tempo and smoldering guitar solos but still no end to the song in sight. For some listeners this slow-but-steady feel will be frustrating but for those willing to invest, Arbouretum has quite a bit to offer a rapt audience.

The introspective songs on Rites of Uncovering focus on examining the paradox of the human condition through Huemann's eyes. Songs, though not bluntly religious, have a certain reverence that can only be described as spiritual. Long, droning guitar solos add a classic rock element seems to place the album somewhere in the Southwestern United States circa 1969.

The album's epic track, "The Rise", is a 12 minute affair that begins with an almost Native American rhythm and concludes with several minutes of wailing distortion and cacophonous drums. Huemann wails the verse - which is met with a unified vocalized response from the band: "Oh, the rise!" This call and response scenario creates an atmosphere of ceremony that saves "The Rise" from sinking into the classic rock cliché.

The studio work of both John McEntire (Tortoise) and Paul Oldham adds a clean feel to Rites of Uncovering that clears a path for Huemann's vocals and the protracted guitar work. While this accessible but intense style will not appeal to everyone, those listeners willing to give Rites of Uncovering more than just a passive listen will be pleased. Dave Huemann wants the listener to sit down with him and relax, letting the music wash all around and those who do will be glad they took the time.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LAS’s editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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