Experimentalists who give the raw elements of mountain music an avant-garde twist, Montreal outfit Sackville hover like dazed buzzards over their chosen terrain. Parched violins, faded wisps of keyboa

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The Principles Of Science

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The Principles Of Science

Experimentalists who give the raw elements of mountain music an avant-garde twist, Montreal outfit [a]Sackville[/a] hover like dazed buzzards over their chosen terrain. Parched violins, faded wisps of keyboard, the distant humming of organ and bright but mocking acoustic guitar arpeggios swoop and pluck at singer-songwriter Gabe Levine’s bruised and melancholic voice.

On this mini-album, their third outing, Levine arranges his group like a wayward laboratory where each member adds subtle creations of sound to the ongoing flow. The result is at times starkly beautiful, but just as often icily transfixing, stalled in slow motion. The jagged but yearning violin makes ripples that never quite build into waves, Levine’s guitar traces appealing melodies that never quite complete themselves and the drummer drags rhythms out of the ether that just as quickly sink back there.

Surprisingly it all adds up – the tentative curiosity, rapt wonder and moments of lighting-struck clarity fitting the songs which, as the title suggests, come in praise of the aged miracles and mystery of alchemical craft. Meditations on love (‘Gold Dust‘), religion (‘If His Shadow Moves On Water‘), and jubilant discovery (the title track) thus underpin the dazed, seasick, animation-suspended sound crawl. All told it’s an impressively gravity-defying rebuke to the laws of musical relativity.