The former Margaret Wienk is now Margaret Ayre, wedded to guitarist Jim Ayre, who here provides a dark river of psychedelic refrains alongside Margaret's omnipresent cello. Returning from the Fern Knight CD (here) comes violinist James Wolf, beside whom Jesse Sparhawk wields various instruments, everyone composing a quartet spinning out yet more subterraneanly moody Goth tracks of many ebony winter's nights, their fourth release doing so.
Margaret's vocal presence in the mix has become a bit more like Lacey's from Flyleaf, rising and falling, hiding and emerging. If anything, Fern Knight has delved more deeply into the progressive tints of the 70s, drenching their acid folk base with distortion and evolving layers. They even cover a King Crimson antiquity, Epitaph, in drearier fashion than that great predecessor group had. Gone is the vaulting grandiloquence that Fripp & Co. invested it with, replaced by a very Poe-esque gloom hung with cobwebs and creaking rotted timber. Spooky, depressing, sinuous, and laconic.
This, boys and girls, is not music to play for the Glee Club unless said club is chartered between a 12-Step Program and the local chapter of Suicidal Stoic Nihilists 105, Sartre Division. Fern Knight has been reading Sylvia Plath by way of Robert Chambers, and the clammy tendrils of a gasping limbic system reach up through the subconscious to lay deathly hands on sinking heart. I say this not to warn you away from it but rather towards, just so long as the route winds through Gormenghast, Mordor, and Purgatory.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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