Review: Moongazing Hare - Is This the Cumming of Sumer? (2011)


artist: Moongaz­ing Hare
release: Is This the Cum­ming of Sumer?
format: Digital
year of release: 2011
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 23:29

Dur­ing recent months, I’ve been work­ing my way through some of Moongaz­ing Hare’s older releases (all self-released through Band­camp) and it’s been a very pleas­ant jour­ney. And then along comes a new EP, filled with Death in June cov­ers no less. I’m always a bit wary when it comes to such pro­jects, but in this case I shouldn’t have wor­ried at all.

Apart from the intro and outro tracks, based on vari­ous rendi­tions of the clas­sic Turn! Turn! Turn!, the five cent­ral songs are inter­pret­a­tions of some of Death in June’s essen­tial tracks, and Moongaz­ing Hare’s David Folk­mann Drost makes them sound as such as well. Though this EP remains in neo­folk and singer/songwriter ter­rit­ory, David’s subtle and intim­ate voice and sparse instru­ment­a­tion based on gui­tar and banjo give the songs a whole new sound. This is not greatly appar­ent in “Hail! The White Grain”, which is per­haps closest to the ori­ginal, but songs like “Fall Apart” and “Rose Clouds of Holo­caust” have quite a dif­fer­ent tim­bre and intens­ity, and one that is not at all unpleas­ant.

In fact, where Death in June’s stu­dio record­ings have been waver­ing in their over­all qual­ity and some­times internal con­sist­ency, I can say that this EP here has no prob­lems in that area. It is short, bal­anced, and very power­ful in the under­state­ment of some songs, espe­cially “Fall Apart” and “Des­pair”. So, far more than just a funny pro­ject, this cover EP is a worthy addi­tion to grow­ing Moongaz­ing Hare dis­co­graphy, as well as a very fine trib­ute to the songs of Douglas Pearce. Being 100% free to boot, I’d say this one is an essen­tial down­load for all neo- and exper­i­mental folk lov­ers.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Gather Stones or Turn to Dust (1:54)
2. Hail! The White Grain (2:40)
3. Fall Apart (3:43)
4. Des­pair (4:36)
5. Rose Clouds of Holo­caust (3:48)
6. She Said Des­troy (5:29)
7. Worm Turn the Knife (1:19)