Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Children of the Stones - The Bright Day Is Gone (2006)

artist: Chil­dren of the Stones
release: The Bright Day is Gone
format: CD-R
year of release: 2006
label: Deser­ted Vil­lage
dur­a­tion: 39:55

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

If there ever was a hot­bed of cre­ativ­ity, it’s def­in­itely the people around United Bible Stud­ies in Ire­land. Besides numer­ous release from the col­lect­ive itself, we’ve also seen a lot of great stuff by David Colo­han’s Agit­ated Radio Pilot, to name just one of many related pro­jects. Chil­dren of the Stones is another such pro­ject, which is in a way like the oth­ers, but also has an approach of its own. The music and name of the pro­ject, by the way, are a dir­ect ref­er­ence to the 1970’s Brit­ish magical real­ist chil­dren’s series of the same name (see Wiki­pe­dia). Instru­ment­als are mixed with piano songs, but also cold ambi­ent pas­sages, and that makes for a unique album.

I’m not sure exactly which mem­bers are involved in this pro­ject, but I pre­sume United Bible Stud­iesGavin Prior is among them, and David Colo­han surely is, because he lends his vocals to this album. Opener “Here Lives the Moon” is a rel­at­ively warm track, per­haps most like United Bible Stud­ies than any other track, and the begin­ning is decept­ive. If you’re expect­ing more of the same freefolk warmth, you’re mis­taken. “The Pale Stars Alone (Over a Quiet Earth)” intro­duces Dav­id’s vocals over piano and harp­si­chord in a mel­an­cholic song, sparse and cold in its atmo­sphere. “Sparks of Frost” is instru­mental, but con­tin­ues a bit of the glit­ter­ing night­time atmo­sphere. “Day is Done” is indeed a Nick Drake cover, but instead of warm gui­tar, we get chilly synths and faint elec­tronic beats in a very moody ver­sion indeed. “Where Amongst the Ruins” and “Poor Scott” are two final piano songs with great lyr­ics and sad atmo­sphere, even vaguely remind­ing me of Cur­rent 93’s Soft Black Stars. Then we’re halfway, length­wise, and we enter into yet another new musical ter­rit­ory. “Fog on the Womb Road” is a sub­lime, ice-cold ambi­ent track, based solely on synth choirs. This one sends shivers down my spine. “The Interior Left Empty” takes us deeper into dark­ness, with twelve minutes of min­im­al­ist ambi­ence, based on thin waves, high-pitched synth wails, and spooky sound effects. Only at the very end of the album does the dark­ness retreat before the warmer tones of the rising sun, in the solace of a gui­tar-based instru­mental.

What can I say? The out­put of these Irish­men is not only impress­ive in terms of quant­ity, but the qual­ity is cer­tainly there as well. This album could be a bit bet­ter in terms of per­form­ance and sound here and there, but it is ori­ginal and excit­ing through and through. 2006 turned out to be not only the year of two excel­lent Agit­ated Radio Pilot and United Bible Stud­ies albums, but also of this little gem. Recom­men­ded to any fan of Deser­ted Vil­lage mater­ial, as well as those inter­ested in ori­ginal mix­tures of song, acous­tics and ambi­ent.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. Here Lives the Moon (4:21)
2. The Pale Stars Alone (Over a Quiet Earth) (2:03)
3. Sparks of Frost (2:21)
4. Day is Done (2:58)
5. Where Amongst the Ruins (2:04)
6. Poor Scott (4:04)
7. Fog on the Womb Road (7:10)
8. The Interior Left Empty (12:30)
9. Here Lives the Sun (2:24)