Rites of Uncovering
Thrill Jockey Records

You don’t have to take several hits of acid to appreciate the psychedelic folk-rock of Baltimore’s Arbouretum, but it might help. Vocalist and guitarist David Heumann’s nonlinear approach to lyricism on Rites of Uncovering, his quartet’s second full-length album, is bristling with cryptic, meandering poetics—just the sort that could use an altered state to decipher.

Even though Heumann’s lyrics don’t seem to follow any particular narratives—except for “Mohammed’s Hex And Bounty,” a tale of teen love based on the book Love with a Few Hairs by Mohamed Mrabet—it doesn’t detract from the cohesiveness of Rites of Uncovering. In fact, Heumann’s abstract ruminations are a perfect accompaniment to Arbouretum’s spacey rock, mesmerizing listeners into return excursions to the soundscapes created.

Heumann and his bandmates churn out a style of hypnotically addictive and intensely somber psychedelia. Musically, the group parallels the gloomy minor chord stylings of early Neil Young while cultivating experimental and improvisational tendencies more akin to modern groups like Japan’s Ghost.

With this sort of sonic backbone, Rites of Uncovering is an enjoyable, winding musical trip, even if you’re stone-cold sober. (Ira Sather-Olson)

Arbouretum plays The Loft Monday, April 2, with David Karsten Daniels, Scott Kennedy and Burke Jam. 10 PM. $5.
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