Review: United Bible Studies - The Shore That Fears The Sea (2006)


artist: United Bible Stud­ies
release: The Shore That Fears The Sea
format: CD
year of release: 2006
label: Deser­ted Vil­lage / Dead­slack­string
dur­a­tion: 47:14

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

United Bible Stud­ies is one of Ireland’s lead­ing freefolk ensembles, com­bin­ing exper­i­ment­a­tion with ambi­ent and more tra­di­tional folk. Com­pared to pre­vi­ous releases since the band’s incep­tion in 2001, The Shore That Fears The Sea is more of a ‘stu­dio album’, with a greater emphasis on song­writ­ing.

This makes the album very diverse and more access­ible, while remain­ing ori­ginal. Each song has its own dis­tinct char­ac­ter, so the album con­tains a wide range of sounds. “Rivers Rot­ting In The Earth” is an intro­duct­ory mix of sound manip­u­la­tion, gui­tar, flute and spoken word, exem­plary of the United Bible Stud­ies exper­i­mental style. But, other songs on the album sound like they could come straight from the rep­er­toire of a related pro­ject. “Hellical Rising”, a fra­gile little song, could just as well be fromThe Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree, whereas “Columba’s Song” wouldn’t sound out-of-place on one of Dave Colohan’s recent Agit­ated Radio Pilot albums. “Watch­ing The Rain Reshape Gal­way” takes things in a dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tion, though. One this beau­ti­ful track, Dave’s soar­ing vocals steal the show. The rest of the album shows a sim­ilar mix of beau­ti­ful melod­ies, ambi­ent and musical exper­i­ments. I won’t go into fur­ther detail, save men­tion­ing the won­der­ful title track, a long mod­ern folk song with a great flute and cla­ri­net duet at the end.

Together with the great pic­tures in the book­let, this makes for a very suc­ces­ful release, and it comes warmly recom­men­ded to all lov­ers of mod­ern folk and exper­i­ment­a­tion.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Rivers Rot­ting In The Earth (6:16)
2. Hellical Rising (2:16)
3. Columba’s Song (2:53)
4. Watch­ing The Rain Reshape Gal­way (7:15)
5. Crofts Of Copeland (2:20)
6. Trib­u­tar­ies Of The Styx Under Dub­lin (7:03)
7. The One True God Lies To Him­self While The One True God­dess Sings (7:09)
8. The Shore That Fears The Sea (7:57)
9. Cap­tain Wil­liam Coey (4:05)