The ambitious, yet entirely befitting of their label, Archipelago project from Olive Grove has reached its conclusion with the release of Archipelago, Volume 5 & 6. We’ve never been shy about our support for the label, or the enthusiastic and infectious spirit of their leader, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to quality of output.
Archipelago has a Trans-Atlantic feel, combining the talents of Jo Mango and A. Wesley Chung in a seemingly sparse style, while the music is more than the sum of its parts. There’s a lot of warmth here, and it shows you don’t need volume or many people to create something uplifting. Anyone who is a sucker for backing vocals will adore the cheery whoops of ‘Two Tiny Builders’, the opener which bounds along with a rattling sense of glee.
‘Paper & Ink’ is probably the cheeriest, in tempo and mood at least, but Volume 5 should elicit a smile from start to end.
The final release comes from Henry & Fleetwood. Whether you know Martin from De Rosa or Gill from The State Broadcasters or The Duplets, there’s a reasonable chance this is the act you’ll reference moving forward. Lumping two good things together doesn’t always result in success, but it works here.
It’s an atmospheric and very traditional record. When you have harps and artists known for haunting melodies doubling down on folky passages, it couldn’t be anything but an intense yet playful experience. The spirited and spritely motifs of ‘Bessie Bell and Mary Gray’ and Gill’s evocative but pensive vocals on ‘Lassie Lie Near Me’ are highlights on a powerful and pleasing collection of songs.
The artwork and vinyl look fantastic, the sort of physical product that almost justifies the veneration vinyl receives nowadays. Almost, but if you are settling for the digital versions, you’ll be just as rewarded.
Archipelago Vol 5 & 6 is out now on Olive Grove Records. Anyone considering buying the release on Friday 20th March should consider visiting the label’s Bandcamp page, as Bandcamp are waiving their fees on this date.
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