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Review: Tasseomancy-Ulalume by jason
August 12, 2011, 11:37 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: ,


Tasseomancy-Ulalume. Out of This Spark, 2011.

It might seem like Jayson is “the folk guy” around here sometimes, but I like good folk music, too. I especially like it when artists try to do something new while still retaining the folk roots. Twin sisters Sari and Romy Lightman have done just that under the name Tasseomancy with their upcoming album Ulalume.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that the album is named after the Edgar Allen Poe poem; it would explain the tone of the whole thing. Tasseomancy sing of lost love, of death and mourning, of petitioning pagan gods at their altars. In the opening track, “Anubis,” it almost sounds like they are describing how to travel to the underworld via ritual, with the instructions, “Braid the key/ light the leaves/ pour the salt/ undereath.” And in “Diana,” they ask “Who’s in my cellar? […] Who’s at my altar?”

The dark themes of Ulalume are brought to life with the minimalist arrangement of the songs. Most of these tracks feature the Lightman sisters singing, sounding like a cross between Julee Cruise and Isobel Campbell, a guitar, and the occasional creepy organ. And that organ, though used sparingly, really sets this album apart. More bands should rock the creepy organ. On “The Darkness of Things,” Tasseomancy are joined by Timber Timbre, who also produced the album. The male vocals on this track blend right in with the whole, and those guys seem like they were always part of the band, just on the sonic periphery, rather than just being guest vocalists on one track.

Overall, Ulalume is pretty fantastic. The Lightman sisters are haunting, they’ve managed to touch on mythology and death without sounding pretentious or gothy, and the whole album has a satisfyingly uniform sound. The album comes out August 29th on Out of This Spark records. You can check out Tasseomancy on their website.

-jason

Here’s the video for “Heavy Sleep,” which is probably the gothy-est song on the album, and the video is pretty gothy, but hey. I still stand by my words.

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