Much more than with the piano, there?s doubt shining through a guitarchord. The microsecond the player?s fingers first touch the snares always contain faint hints of uncertainty. It?s an appealing characteristic, when someone plays a melancholic piano part, it?s so overtly melancholic but when someone plays a melancholic guitarmelody, you subconsciously detect more of the person?s nuances which automatically leads to more sympathy.
The reason why I think of this are the first minutes of this album, the third by Desert Village founder Dave Colohan, ?The Days and Hills Grown Old?. Opening track, ?Saints Island? is solely built from minutes of desolate guitarplucking, resonating into seconds of silence before morphing into the next track. Hardly impressive but it gives you some minutes to contemplate about the guitar and that?s always a nice thing to do.
?How You?ll Fall? actually has vocals, male and female, singing together like they know they?re going down and have accepted their demise. It?s one way to look at it, another is that it?s boring, unfortunately. The duo sings with mysteriously little affection but that just seems to be their shtick. ?Floodplains? is just female vocals, almost Christina Carter-like but much more in a medieval, British vein. It?s definately a step up from previous tracks but again fails to impress.
The album?s moneymaker is ?And If I Remained by the Outermost Sea?. A twenty minute, minimalistic folk epic in which Colohan finally takes his time to release his talents. It builds up with brooding drones and the vibe instantly gets more mysterious and transcendent. It?s almost like the rest of the album doesn?t matter anymore when you?re in the midst of this and by the time it ends you wonder why Colohan choose to surround this impressive centerpiece with a selection of stale, unimpressive folksongs. 6/10 -- Joris Heemskerk (18 December, 2006)