Ursine Vulpine - Fenrir
Owain Paciuszko 25/11/2010
A delightful gathering of guitars draw you into the evocative, Autumnal sounds of Shadow Moses/Alaska. They flutter around the listener like starlings, before a strummed acoustic guitar rises up through the flurry like a time-lapsed sunrise, accompanied by stirring strings which are countered, beautifully by melancholic, chanted vocals. It's a gorgeous start to this record, somewhere between Bon Iver and Mychael Danna.
It's followed by the tranquil Raijin which blossoms into a wonderful cavalcade of joyous flute and splashing cymbals, like a folk-Vangelis soundtracking Springwatch, it's simple and magical, and near impossible not to be swept along with the track's sheer positive emotion and build towards a rousing, if cruelly silenced, finale. Eden falls somewhere between its two predecessors, part guitar collage, part optimistic woodwind, it's less immediate than the others but nonetheless pleasant.
Ursine Vulpine is the work of Freddie Lloyd, a musician and film-maker from the Hereford area, his ability to quickly craft a rich atmosphere in his music is certainly impressive and shares the sensibility of some of the finest modern composers of folk-orientated soundtracks alongside emerging folk-rock artists, alongside the older generation of folk-rockers, there's a hint of Pentagle via Explosions in the Sky on closing track Bahamut which ends the album brilliantly as the easy-going melody is transformed into a stirring, clattering climax with wailing vocals and spine-tingling drumming.
Again, Ursine Vulpine have managed to create a moody and spirited record. There's always a sense that these are sounds waiting for images, but for the most part your mind starts painting the pictures for you. For me it's somewhere between David Attenborough's Planet Earth and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain.