Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace
Irish folk veteran favours ambiance over genre tropes.
As Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace begins, the Nico of The Marble Index and Desertshore springs to mind. Although O’Donnell’s voice is warm rather than doomy and deep, her songs are underpinned by sparse accompaniment from pump organ and a Suzuki Omnichord. When acoustic guitar, analogue synth tonal wash, brass, percussion and other voices arrive as colour, the comparison lingers. Ireland’s O’Donnell was a founder of folk titans Mellow Candle and this, by default, is a folk album. However, over the past decade and following a lengthy hiatus from music, she has collaborated extensively with the boundary-pushing United Bible Studies. Accordingly, the John Martyn/ Vashti-esque The Road We Know – as close to singersongwriter folk as it gets – is balanced against album opener Sylvia’s Deadbolt’s sepulchral rumination on karmic fragmentation. Musical definitions are rendered irrelevant. Move fast, the vinyl edition is limited to 250 copies.