Kirkinrola Records - November 2016
Home Burial is the debut album from Northern Ireland’s Arborist, the brainchild of songwriter Mark McCambridge. Ranging from bleak Americana to melodic indie rock, the songs on the album deal with death, ageing and family. Blending layered harmonies, atmospheric guitars, luscious strings with occasional brass flourishes, Arborist’s music is measured and mature whilst remaining starkly modern. Centred around McCambridge's soaring vocal and unique lyrical style, the music speaks of bleak truths (Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan, Jason Molina) delivered with an assured soulfulness (Sam Cooke, Al Green).
Since the release of their debut single Twisted Arrow in 2015, Arborist have become somewhat cult properties, thanks in no small part to Kim Deal (Pixies, The Breeders) contributing delicate harmonies to the song. A nonchalant and thoughtful piece of Americana, conceived in Belfast and Dayton Ohio, it premiered on Stereogum and The Line of Best Fit (who described it as; “soaked in country-western hallmarks and nuanced flecks of The Decemberists), and had extensive play on BBC 6Music. It was also featured in The Guardian Guide’s tracks of the week who described it as; “…not unlike a vexed, downcast version of The Breeders' country chug on 'Drivin on 9'."
Having previously worked as a songwriter around France, London and Dublin, Mark McCambridge formed Arborist in late 2014. He played his first show opening for James Yorkston and a solo tour of Ireland followed before impressive performances led to notable support slots alongside Low, Cat Power, Guy Garvey and Echo and The Bunnymen.
Early on McCambridge teamed up with drummer Ben McAuley, who ran Start Together Studios in Belfast (working with the likes of David Holmes, Sea Pinks, Pleasure Beach and Girls Names). They could begin recording immediately and their first release was a Christmas song, which came out at the end of that year. The aforementioned Kim Deal duet single “Twisted Arrow” followed in 2015 and the lush, emotive “A Man of My Age” was released in 2016 (with premieres on Clash Music – “Musically divine” - and Folk Radio UK, as well as regularly featuring on Gideon Coe’s BBC 6music show.)
The debut album itself was again recorded in drummer Ben McAuley’s Start Together Studios. As he had a vested interest in the project, he had a strong sense of the songs and of how they should be recorded. Given the association, sessions were relaxed but focused and devoid of any time constraints. Occasional flourishes were added at home with the aid of Ben’s expertise. Fleshing out the band, McCambridge surrounded himself with a band of well-travelled musicians, including James Heaney on bass, Jonny Ashe on guitar and Richard Hill on piano/organ. Strings on “A Man of My Age” (and other tracks) were provided by Luke Bannon.
The album title focuses on two words; “Home” and “Burial”, reflecting the two dominant themes of the album, which occasionally touch on a similar darkness. The artwork of a man fishing on the roof of a house cast adrift over a choppy sea, also reflects these themes and was designed by Belfast artist Peter Strain – who has done artwork for fellow Irish acts Villagers (Where have you been all my life?) and Little Green Cars.
The album is due out on 11 November via the bands’ own imprint, Kirkinrola, named after a town-land (an old Irish geographical boundary) near where Mark grew-up in County Antrim. As Ireland’s Hot Press proclaimed; "This guy's a master songwriter… his muse is an earth-bound one - full of scruffy moments and care-worn emotional truths. His development will be one of the most intriguing story strands of the year." Indeed, Home Burial’s heartfelt and strikingly accomplished sounds are proof of McCambridge’s exceptional talent at the dawn of a very promising career.
"...not unlike a vexed, downcast version of The Breeders' country chug on 'Drivin on 9'." The Guardian Guide
"It's a sweetly lilting ditty, soaked in country-western hallmarks and nuanced flecks of The Decemberists." The Line of Best Fit
"It's a bit of the old country in more ways than one." Stereogum
"Twisted Arrow will offer hope that you can turn that state of decay into a moment of inspiration." Songwriting Magazine
“A group whose lush, nonchalant Americana is filtered through their Belfast roots.” Clash
"This guy's a master songwriter… his muse is an earth-bound one - full of scruffy moments and care-worn emotional truths. His development will be one of the most intriguing story strands of the year." - Hot Press Magazine.