Review: Poostosh – Herbarium

Poostosh are a Moscow-based three piece, their name meaning “uncultivated plot or heath”. It turns out to be quite accurate. ‘Herbarium’, their third album, is the sonic equivalent of nature being left to look after itself; growing wildly yet not unattractively without the care of human hands and machinery. Yet that would be to dismiss the work of these Russian musicians who have created a collection of gloriously evocative instrumental music.

As if to hammer home the point that Poostosh aren’t going for the obvious route to capture the listener’s attention, ‘Overjoyed To Hear The New Poostosh Album’ is on the surface a jolly folk ditty but with strange unsettling vocal samples lurking underneath. ‘Life As We Forgot It’ is part elegiac piano keys and ambient wash.

Poostosh’s real genius is being able to unearth beauty. The fragrant ‘Sasha’ is like the soundtrack to a secret garden imagined by Vini Reilly, ‘Swallowed By Untime, Vol. 2’ harks back to the pastoral subtlety of Mike Oldfield and ‘The Meadow Of Infancy’ turns the cheesiest of vintage organs in to a gorgeous melody. In their quest for the unusual, Poostosh do occasionally slip up. ‘Corneal Abrasion’ is as unpleasant as it sounds whilst one track borrows instruments from a “cool busker” including an accordion.

Admittedly, nearly an hour of this music is a lot to take in one sitting but for most of the time I was mesmerised by its invention and weirdness. ‘Herbarium’ seems informed by the echoes of a 1970’s dream, close in spirit and execution to UK act Junkboy.

Web Sites:
Poostosh MySpace

Further Listening:
Junkboy, Ultramarine


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