Monday, August 06, 2007

Art in Manila - Set the Woods on Fire

by Frank Gualtier -- 08/06/07

Art in ManilaThe wispy voiced story weaving master poetess is back -- and she's come bearing gifts in the form of the band '', a group who's every single component carries a distinct share in the sound they make.

Together they've given us 'Set the Woods on Fire', set to drop 08/07/07, a debut album that melds the depths of Fink's creative surrealism and captivating voice to the ear lulling organic mechanics of five other artists.

The lineup:

[] (guitar, vocals)
[] (keys, vocals)
[] (keys)
[] (guitar)
[] (bass)
[] (drums)

The track list (all songs by 'Art in Manila' except where noted below):

1. Time Gets Us All
2. Our Addictions
3. The Abomination
4. I Thought I Was Free
5. Set the Woods on Fire
7. Anything You Love
8. The Sweat Descends (written by )
9. Spirit, Run
10. Precious Pearl
11. The Game

Most know Fink for her ethereal pros and that dreamy silken frog in her throat. One and you're off to realms that only the spirits residing in her head can take you. Exotic places, surreal and often dark -- always addictive for the love or the grief or the coveting of what secret vantage she has.

I hear lyrics such as:

"When I was a girl
I witnessed an accident
A man struck by an automobile
He flew through the atmosphere
Like a rag doll with magical powers"

from 'The Abomination' and I am transfixed. Immediately after that she goes on to compare the event with a " in a ", the occupants shouting "When we land it'll all be better!", and I think then I understand her desire to have the band's name associated with .

While surfing the net she apparently ran across a reference to Bell's recent exodus to the Philippines. It was titled 'Art in Manila' and maybe looked something like this:

Source: Coast to Coast AM

For those familier with and you'll recognize Adrianne Verhoeven straight away as the primary vocal backing Fink. Together they create a earthy sound and they have a most delightful penchant for blending melodies to create harmony. This is brought to a wonderful place in their arrangement of the song as a hot and deliciously dark that'll have you sweating.

Orenda Fink wrote the other ten tracks but she left the machinations of creative arrangement to each member's individual talent, predilection and whim. The net effect is remarkable. Fink at her absolute best as part of a sextet in which each member's musical virtues flourish in the presence of the virtues of the others (i.e. the sum is greater than it's parts).

From a genre standpoint they're and with their fingers in many things including , , , and or (depending on who's definition you use). The music varies enough to give good contrast but stays within enough of a bandwidth to remain cohesive. The furthest departure I find is the somewhat 'Spirit, Run'.

The engineering, ground up, is outstanding and serves up all eleven of these brilliant and beautiful songs that make up 'Set the Woods on Fire' with flourish and mastery.

Start to finish this is the best album of 2007 and sets a dizzingly high bar for those that follow.

One final note about the package itself. The artwork and layout are beautiful and all paper used is made from 100% recycled material and I LOVE that they included the lyrics.

Art in Manila - Set the Woods on Fire


Purchasing 'Set the Woods on Fire' by Art in Manila:
Links for Art in Manila:

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