The Twisted Vine
Release Date: 18th September 2015
Moniker of Edmund Cottam, The Gildings, produce beautiful, ethereal folk music for all ears. This is the debut album and has become an album of significance particularly for Cottam. After retreating to Anglesey whilst suffering with Graves’ disease, he became inspired by writers and artists he had long admired, such as Keats, Christina Rossetti, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, all of which have inspired this album and his writing in some way.
Taking inspiration from landscapes everywhere, their songs tell a story of beauty and emotion through classical and folk sounds which are mixed wonderfully with contemporary influences and a poetic lyricism. Having played a plethora of festivals and headlining shows up and down the country, The Gildings have been dubbed ‘Ones To Watch’ by Manchester Evening News and quite frankly I have to agree with that.
The album opens up with the gentle sounds of ‘Shoots From The Ground’ as piano lines flow and reverberating hi-hat crunch slowly but steadily in the background. A forlorn vocal delivery takes us through the beautiful lyrical story of this opener making for an utterly stunning track to behold.
Next up is single ‘Sweet Lady of The Gently Rolling Plains’ which is a more fast tempoed affair with wonderful guitar melodies which weave their way throughout padding drums and oscillating piano chords. Vocally, we have much more confidence here which is at times commanding and at others wonderfully harmonious, playing on that hip-shaking rhythm perfectly.
Beautiful ebbing and flowing piano notes open ‘Sapphire’ before sadness tinged vocals come in adding an atmosphere of melancholic apprehension. This delicate track is wholly exquisite in its delivery creating a truly touching ode. With folk influences interlaced throughout ‘My Sweetheart Honeysuckle’ from the off through country style guitar and piano, it makes for a melodic and rhythm fuelled track guaranteed to make you dance along to those brisk drum beats and cymbal hits.
Oscillating strums and softly plucked strings open ‘Flows On By’ creating the ideal minimal base for the deep, storytelling vocal to sit on. Echoing drums add a fullness to this otherwise sparse track letting the sound rebound around your ears so you can really hear the intricacies of every single chord.
Deep, reverberating acoustic strums bring us into ‘Fledging’ making for a sorrowful and sombre atmosphere. The vocals reach wonderful high notes with their melancholic air as chords perfectly elongate every single lyric; a truly stunning song.
Jazzy afflictions from padding drums, subtle piano notes and the occasional strummed guitar create a more sultry and melody driven affair for ‘The Wind and I’ while ‘Flowers In Bloom’ is softer with outstretched accordion style chords and a programmed beat mixing the traditional with the modern wonderfully. Lyrically, we have a lullaby style story addressed to a lover delivered through soothing, mellow tones.
Dramatic build up’s and intense moments make ‘Barbarous Brambles’ attention grabbing from the very first notes until the last. Pounding drum beats, commanding vocal deliveries and a tense piano line become the centre point, really playing up the emotions and theatricals to form a truly striking track.
Final track ‘Blessed Days’ opens with building piano notes which oscillate constructing a see-sawing effect aurally. The harmonious vocals are joined swiftly by backing vocals which create a fullness to this almost fragile song with its soaring strings and keys. This is the epitome of a delicate and alluring song and it really is the most perfect way to end this superb album.
You can check out the video for the single ‘Sweet Lady of the Gently Rolling Plains’ below: