NPR logo A Ghostly Voice That Swoops and Swoons

A Ghostly Voice That Swoops and Swoons

Hurry Home Dark Cloud [Alternate Mix]

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Hurry Home Dark Cloud"
  • Artist: Pinetop Seven
  • CD: Beneath Confederate Lake
  • Genre: Chamber-Pop

"Hurry Home Dark Cloud" begins unassumingly enough, as a strummed acoustic guitar paves the way for banjoes and sleigh bells. But this is a Pinetop Seven song, and in Pinetop Seven songs, calm austerity rarely fails to swell into something broader and more ambitiously dramatic.

Pinetop Seven's elegantly obtuse songs are virtually impossible to pigeonhole. hide caption

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Even by the band's own standards of ornate beauty, "Hurry Home Dark Cloud" — the peak and centerpiece of Beneath Confederate Lake, an odds-and-ends collection recorded during the making of last year's lovely The Night's Bloom — sounds especially striking. Singer Darren Richard's voice swoops and swoons elegantly, even operatically, making it the key instrument in a mix rife with strings, organs, and bells.

What Richard lacks in willingness to enunciate — his songwriting reads like obtuse but evocative poetry, making a lyric sheet a worthwhile companion piece — he makes up for in presence, as his voice meshes perfectly with Pinetop Seven's lavish, lovely instrumentation. On "Hurry Home Dark Cloud," the collision sounds otherworldly, even downright ghostly.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Beneath Confederate Lake
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