The Douglas Firs – The Furious Sound
Albums about the superstitious persecution of woman are like buses, it seems. A month after Darren Hayman’s The Violence set the witch trials of 17th century Essex to song, The Douglas Firs’ second album The Furious Sound takes inspiration from the earlier North Berwick trials, which resulted in the deaths of around seventy people. Where Hayman weaved accessible narratives, Neil Insh’s project spins out into broader themes and more testing musical terrain, with a sepulchural atmosphere no doubt augmented by the decision to record in darkened woodlands and castle dungeons.
There are mysteries layered throughout its droning, drifting duration; unsettling and insidious on certain tracks (the incantational Devils), gentle on others (the instrumental Black Forest), and always extremely evocative. Like debut Happy as a Windless Flag, The Furious Sound surrenders its secrets slowly but surely, its spectral hymns crafted with great care and likely to haunt thoughts for some time. [Chris Buckle]