Review: Amber Spyglass – Breathing In Essence

“World fusion influenced dark rock”. This is the prospect awaiting curious ears for Amber Spyglass’ latest release. From their press shot, Boston’s Kelly Godshall and John DeGregorio seem to be modelled on Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie, if their favourite colour were red instead of black and this could be a clue to their overall sound.

Ushered in on a wave of ululations, insistent percussion, guitars and strings, ‘Harmonic Tide’ tells us immediately that Amber Spyglass are a melodramatic duo. It’s a rather confusing start since there is so much going on and not all of it in synchronisation but the emotive pull of Godshall’s performance strives to keep the song together. ‘Unfortunate One’ sounds more like a group effort but once again the second half of the song demonstrates that DeGregorio and Godshall don’t share the same vision.

Positioned at the centre of the EP, ‘On The Wire’ appears to be the focal point; its seven minute length can be a bit of a slog but it has a sweeping, epic feel which is powerful and the elongated coda at least gives listeners chance to get their breath back. Credit too for ‘Violent Silence’ and ‘Like Lost Lovers’, where the two protagonists slow down the pace and their folk credentials come to the fore, even if the latter meanders a tad too much.

‘Breathing In Essence’ is an odd EP where the core duo really should opt for a less is more approach but even though the material is flawed, each track has enough good moments to keep your attention. It will be fascinating to hear what they come up with next.

Web Sites:
Amber Spyglass Official Site
Bandcamp Stream of ‘Breathing In Essence’

Further Listening:
All About Eve

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