This recording is many things – it is haunting and ethereally beautiful in places. It is well performed and produced. It is intriguing and often quite fascinating. What it is not, in any way, shape or form, is Americana. There’s been quite a bit of discussion at AUK recently about what actually constitutes the Americana genre of music and, while there’s a bit of disagreement about an exact definition, there is general agreement that Americana draws on American roots music – blues, country and folk.
Lost Harbours and their “Towers of Silence” album definitely draw on folk music as their main inspiration but this folk is most certainly European in its tradition and brings to mind, more than anything else, the early experimental work of The Incredible String Band. No bad thing in itself but definitely a very long way from Americana.
Lost Harbours describe themselves as an “experimental free folk collective based between Riga, Latvia and Southend on Sea in the UK” and that really does sum them up quite comprehensively. The band on this recording consists of Richard Thompson (no, not THE Richard Thompson), Emma Reed, Diane Collier and Sabine Moore. There are six tracks on the album, of which four are originals and two, Black is the Colour and Idumea are cover versions.
The album is good and, as long as you enjoy experimental folk music that works around drone and ambient sounds, there is a lot going on. It is definitely evocative of wide, open spaces, the wind in the pines, sunrise and sunset… just not of ones on the other side of the Atlantic!