- 22 Aug 05
Espers are a winsome trio belonging to the movement with the daftest name since New Wave of New Wave: “Freakfolk”.
Espers are a winsome trio belonging to the movement with the daftest name since New Wave of New Wave: “Freakfolk”. The movement has already been defined, like C86 so many years ago, by a prescient compilation album, last year’s stellar and much sought after (by me, anyway) Golden Apples Of The Sun, where Espers sat alongside the likes of Devendra Banhart and Antony, of Johnsons fame. They didn’t sit comfortably in such company.
Where Devendra Banhart and Antony could have been beamed in from space, novel and unquenchably individual, more freak than folk, Espers are a pretty straightforward proposition. Rooted in the pastoral English scene of the early 1970s – Fairport Convention, Incredible String Band, Pentangle (the kind of people we were taught that punk had put away) they deal in ethereal sighs, zithers, flutes, and tautly plucked strings full of foreboding.
‘Meadow’ is the standout, as a cool cello undercuts Greg Weeks and Meg Baird’s airy harmonies. The sombre hippy mood is maintained through ‘Voices’, ‘Daughter’ and the eight-minute, overlong ‘Hearts And Daggers’, before a change of pace and decade for ‘Travel Mountains’, which has a touch of the Godspeed You Black Emperors! about it.
It’s an energising end to a disappointingly nondescript set of songs; Espers should venture into the present more often.