Review: Birch Book - Volume III: A Hand Full of Days (2009)


artist: Birch Book
release: Volume III: A Hand Full of Days
format: CD, LP
year of release: 2009
label: Little Some­body (CD), Ahn­stern (LP)
dur­a­tion: 60:41

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

After releas­ing the excel­lent second Birch Book album in 2007, and a couple of suc­cess­ful tours with the likes of Woven Hand, Faun, and Sieben, it was time for B’eirth to settle down and record the follow-up, which is what I hold in my hand now. A Hand Full of Days was released on CD by Little Some­body Records, who’ve found a per­fect addi­tion to their roster with this album, and the vinyl edi­tion was once again handled by Ahn­stern.

The album is con­struc­ted in sym­met­rical fash­ion, with the instru­mental birch tracks open­ing and clos­ing the album, as they have done twice before. Also at oppos­ing places are “Left Hand” and “Right Hand”, atmo­spheric instru­ment­als that provide a repose from the ten songs that make up the bulk of this hour-long album. The songs are in a style that has been more or less the same through­out the past dec­ade: gentle singer/songwriter folk, with clear influ­ences from psy­che­delic and neo­folk, as well as touches of amer­ic­ana.

The pro­duc­tion and pol­ish­ing of B’ee’s music has never been bet­ter than on this album, which lends it a strong appeal, though I must say A Hand Full of Dayswon’t turn any heads in terms of innov­a­tion. B’ee does what he does best, and his strengths lie mostly in cre­at­ing gentle, flow­ing songs with elo­quent lyr­ics. At times, a darker atmo­sphere is achieved, on an instru­mental like “Hatched in Stone”, which is an excel­lent track, but held back by a sense of under­state­ment that works bet­ter on peace­ful tracks like “Patch­work Woman”.

Alto­gether, though, this is another good album from one of the more unique voices in con­tem­por­ary altern­at­ive folk. It most cer­tainly won’t dis­ap­point fans like me, but new­comers will find much to enjoy as well, espe­cially if you have a love for calm, laid-back folk.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Birch Leaves (2:08)
2. Feet Of Clay (3:30)
3. Empty Corner Of The Page (5:42)
4. Left Hand (3:36)
5. Patch­work Woman (5:16)
6. Stray Sum­mer Song (6:28)
7. Hatched In Stone (6:57)
8. Sad Song (3:39)
9. Noth­ing More (3:23)
10. White Angel (4:52)
11. Right Hand (4:02)
12. Life’s Lace (3:52)
13. Will Of The Wind (5:02)
14. Birch Leaves (2:14)

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