When ‘Bordeaux’ by Beautumn arrived, I was surprised. It was a mystery. I had then, and have now, no recollection of ordering the CD, knew next to nothing about the band and, as far as I know, read and heard nothing of the album before it slid from the padded envelope. So I checked my Bandcamp account and there it was, unnoticed in my collection, CD definitely ordered and Download waiting. I looked at the Bandcamp page for the album. Not much to go on there except that this is the first album in nine years and is ‘eagerly awaited’ by some. So I searched the internet for reviews, something I wouldn’t normally do until I had listened and made up my own mind, but by now I was intrigued. Nothing. So when the time came, I made the coffee and cracked open ‘Les Grandes Galettes de la Mere Poulard (au Mont Saint Michel depuis 1888, of course!)’ and gave the mystery a listen. Afterwards, I had more questions: why? Why can I find no reviews? Why is this album not the talk of the internet?
Right from the off, listening only added to the sense of mystery. Gentle and calming, with deeply buried melody and melancholy, it feels like exploring a long abandoned and crumbling city, alone except for the ghosts of its former inhabitants. Every now and again, the ghosts make their presence felt, snatches of human voice, the rhythm of an old machine, sounds suddenly appear, close, just out of reach, then vanish. We continue our exploration.
Wandering, we come across the quiet centre piece, the title track ‘Bordeaux’, and stop, transfixed by its most magical melody. All too soon, it’s gone.
The album draws to a close, it is time to reluctantly leave the city. We know little of its mystery but we will return to its haunted and yet comforting decay.
A truly sublime album that will reward repeated and attentive listening.
Surprise. Mystery. Surprise. Beauty