Review: Sproatly Smith - Pixieled (2010)


artist: Sproatly Smith
release: Pix­ieled
format: CDr
year of release: 2010
label: Reverb Wor­ship
dur­a­tion: 54:59

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

It’s my pleas­ure to intro­duce another treat for lov­ers of psy­che­delic folk. Sproatly Smith’s second full length album is a very bal­anced effort that sets some excel­lent moods. The ori­ginal edi­tion on Reverb Wor­ship is sold out, but there is a lim­ited second edi­tion out as well, and it’s also pos­sible to buy a digital ver­sion through the artist’s Band­camp page.

It’s not in ori­gin­al­ity that this pro­ject stands out, as Pix­ieled doesn’t really bring many innov­at­ive ele­ments to a genre that goes back four dec­ades. How­ever, the band’s broad influ­ences are bal­anced to per­fec­tion, com­bin­ing acous­tic instru­ment­a­tion with soft female vocals and a host of tiny details and effects that truly bring the music to life. The tracks them­selves are bal­ances like­wise, altern­at­ing between instru­ment­als and relaxes pas­toral tracks with spoken word and samples (“Pix­ieled”, “Afon Gwy”, “Hornsea Cove”) and vocal tra­di­tion­als and songs (“Spring Strath­spey”, a Gwy­dion Pendder­wen cover, the excel­lent “The Magpie’s Nest”, etc.). Of fur­ther note is the long “Whit Leafed Oak”, a great hyp­notic psych piece.

The over­all mood is calm, flow­ing, more a brook than a raging river, and focuses on the pas­toral ele­ments of the psy­che­delic folk tra­di­tion rather than the chaotic ones. As such, this is a great album whether you want some­thing to play in the back­ground or to listen to more closely. In short, a release to be proud of, deserving of note in the wider altern­at­ive folk audi­ence, and prom­ising for the future!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Flowers Made Of Winter (2:46)
2. Spring Strath­spey (4:53)
3. Pix­ieled (3:56)
4. The Magpie’s Nest (5:09)
5. Afon Gwy (4:20)
6. Sab­rina Fair (3:30)
7. Hornsea Cove (4:47)
8. The Bal­lad Of Tam Lin (5:46)
9. Whit Leafed Oak (8:00)
10. A Leaf Must Fall (5:22)
11. San­haim Dance (1:05)
12. Old Years Wake (5:25)