Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Lost Harbours - Hymns & Ghosts (2012)

artist: Lost Har­bours
release: Hymns & Ghosts
format: CD
year of release: 2012
label: Lim­inal Noise Tapes
dur­a­tion: 45:36

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Hello Lost Har­bours, and wel­come to that cadre of exper­i­mental folk artists that every­one worth his salt should check out. This isn’t tech­nic­ally the debut album by the duo Richard Thompson and Emma Reed, but it is the first one released on CD in a lar­ger run.

The setup of the album is chal­len­ging for the song-lov­ing folkies. The listener is imme­di­ately treated to a twelve-minute dron­ing chant piece, full of misty synth waves, voices, church bells, and the like. A lovely drift­ing work that places Hymns & Ghosts firmly on the oth­er­worldly side of folk music.

The four fol­low­ing tracks are more open and give way to Richard’s gui­tar and voice, and Emma’s wood­winds. “Spring’s Fire” is still rather ghostly and eth­er­eal, but for the two cent­ral tracks, every­one hushes. “Portent” is a stun­ning piece start­ing with del­ic­ate fin­ger­picked gui­tar, mel­an­choly and dark. After its more intense cli­max, the it flows seam­lessly in the sparse notes and almost whispered vocals of “Sis­ter”.

The longer “Morn­ing Song” includes some brighter notes, but it has its darker touches too, and ample room for swirls of gui­tar and flute as well as calmer pieces. The album ends with the second part of the ghostly title track, another exten­ded impro­vised piece, but this time with an organ base, gui­tar, per­cus­sion, and more layered vocals, some by Bob­bie Wat­son of Comus.

Hymns & Ghosts is an excel­lent album, loosely put together and giv­ing itself free reins all the time. This res­ults in a delight­ful fix of song-like parts, inter­ludes, impro­visa­tions, and drones in a com­bin­a­tion that makes this style of folk so appeal­ing. I’m sure it will delight many of our read­ers and listen­ers, and I urge you to pick up this album, pro­fes­sion­ally self-released in a lovely six-panel sleeve.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. Hymns & Ghosts pt1 (11:43)
2. Spring’s Fire (5:01)
3. Portent (4:03)
4. Sis­ter (4:25)
5. Morn­ing Song (8:55)
6. Hymns & Ghosts pt2 (11:29)