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River of Amber​/​Frozen Waterfall

by Cubs

/
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    20 song CD album in 6-panel gatefold matte cardboard sleeve

    Includes unlimited streaming of River of Amber/Frozen Waterfall via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      €13 EUR or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      €10 EUR  or more

     

1.
2.
Forest Gate 04:47
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Tape Owl 04:06
10.
Windflower 05:44
11.
12.
13.
Cold Bulbs 03:21
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
And the Wind 03:03
19.
Neon Tetra 02:23
20.
Aunt Myrtle 04:22

about

River of Amber & Frozen Waterfall

Reviews
=======
"An expansive volume of material is on offer here from the Irish psychedelic folksters Cubs. One half, Frozen Waterfall, was originally released as a download last year and is now accompanied by a collection of recordings from the same sessions.

The music is a breezy, rustic, earthy affair. Despite sounding like it was conceived in a barn on the outskirts of Limerick, I’m surprised to learn that it was actually recorded in Galway, Belfast, Huddersfield and Atlanta. The best way of describing the songs is a collection of simple ideas which often take a starting point and develop and extrapolate it using layers of instrumentation and vocals that aim to be as organic as possible; in other words, none of your modern day keyboards and programming are present here, particularly if there are acoustic guitars, flutes, and a mandolin present and correct nearby.

Vocal duties are shared across the band – some are male-led – and others, such as the beautiful ‘Crystal World’ are female-led. Often, as in ‘Hot Honey Glazes Hills’ and ‘Thunder Calling’, there’s a mixture of both. These guys feel genuinely authentic in terms of attempting to both protect the heritage of Irish music and develop ideas based upon it. Where modern Irish music is arguably represented by the post-punk from the likes of Fontaines DC and Sons Of Southern Ulster, Cubs are taking an entirely different route and exposing the sound of Olde Ireland.

Highlights include ‘Time Slowly Melts Away’, which feels sorrowful and thought provoking, and ‘Crystal World’, which is best described like wandering around Glastonbury Festival and stumbling across a secret stone circle with musicians dressed in matching costume playing magical tunes to an audience of eager listeners sitting around a campfire.

The feel of both halves of this double album is consistent – there’s no big transition as we progress from ‘Rivers Of Amber’ to ‘Frozen Waterfall’, and there are a number of standout tracks across the second album, namely the instrumental ‘Cold Bulbs’, the haunting title track, and the Cocteau Twins ethereality of ‘Neon Tetra’. The album closes with ‘Aunt Myrtle’, which is a perfect coda to an eclectic and uplifting collection of songs that genuinely describe organic Irish music.

I can certainly see this album particularly appealing to fans of The Declining Winter, epic45 and July Skies. It’s rather lovely." - Sic Magazine


"For some years now, Cubs has become the theme song that summarizes the variegated artistic souls gravitating around the Irish label Rusted Rail, whose evolution it has faithfully followed from extravagant sound experiments to the rediscovery of a never orthodox folk soul. The band's path - which now steadily includes musicians active in the projects A Lilac Decline , Loner Deluxe , Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon and United Bible Studies - is well reflected by his three previous albums, the latest of which, “ Frozen Waterfall”, Published a year ago in digital format only, is now re-proposed in a CD edition, associated with another collection of songs, similar in terms of production and content.

An essential acoustic system is in fact at the basis of the further ten tracks of “River Of Amber”, which range from a vaguely acidic ritualism to enchanting Arcadian visions, in particular those embellished by the vocal parts of Cecilia Danell. The consolidated language of Cubs therefore remains that of a visionary folk, both aimed at arcane bucolic scenarios and projected towards cosmic drifts, conveyed by effects and bizarre sound digressions, which refer to the beginnings of the collective and to those of his mentor Keith Wallace with Loner Deluxe. The combined use of the twenty tracks of the new edition therefore creates a lasting journey out of time and out of the defining patterns, which nevertheless does not fail to give a handful of folk ballads of bewildered delicacy." - Music Wont Save You (Internet translation from the original Italian text)


"Comprising ten new songs and the previously released, as a download, “Frozen Waterfall” album, this collection of tunes highlights all that is good about Cubs, melody, atmosphere and imagination combining to create a highly listenable album that will become an old favourite.

As I have already reviewed “Frozen Waterfalls” (Terrascope Reviews for July 2020 ) this review will concentrate on the first ten songs, collectively known as “River of Amber”, with “Solstice song” setting the scene perfectly, a shimmering doorway into a musical landscape, the promise of adventure enticing you to step through, the music soft and lysergic like your dreams. With a gently picked guitar and the sweet voice of Cecillia Danell, “Forest Gate” is a folk lullaby, a tune to relax with a Cello adding texture and warmth to the track.

Featuring the distinctive voice of Aaron Hurley, “Faster in the Dark” is another tune where simplicity is its strength, the arrangement allowing the song to shine out before the psychedelic meditation of , “We'll See How the Cat Jumps” gets all Eastern and trippy reminding me of Kaleidoscope (U.S. Version) and spinning my head around.

After a brief fog of electronics and backward vocals, “Crystal World” is revealed as a slow, shoegaze tune that floats majestically above strummed guitar and droning background sound, whilst “Falling Petals” mixes folk and soundscape to fine effect, music from another realm that is delicate and wondrous.

Utilising a whole host of instruments both electronic and acoustic, each song on the collection has a unique sound palette yet works perfectly with those around it, the album flowing beautifully allowing tunes such as the Mandolin led strangeness of “Hot Honey Glazes Hills” to blend perfectly into the droning, experimental sweetness of “Tape Owl” without interrupting the rhythm or flow.

Only halfway through but ending “River of Amber” and this review, “Windflower” sways delightfully, filled with rattling percussion and yet more softness. The track also features the talents of David Colohan, but you knew he would be there somewhere, whilst the contributions of James Rider and Keith Wallace should also be mentioned the album definitely a team effort and one hat is well worth hearing" - Terrascope


"From Galway’s Rusted Rail, the label that also brought us the hearty home-cooked feast of Loner Deluxe’s Field Recordings earlier this year, comes the even more generously proportioned double-length River of Amber / Frozen Waterfall from the returning Cubs – a remotely-convened supergroup of sorts featuring members of A Lilac Decline, Loner Deluxe, Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon and United Bible Studies contributing compositions, voices and instrumentation in varying combinations.

Assembled mostly apart in separate recording bunkers scattered across Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Sweden and the US, this twin – rather than strictly double – album pairing (which had its Frozen Waterfall portion released digitally last year) arrives in one small but expanded 20-track CD.

For all of its internal girth, the collection hangs together compellingly as a sprawling suite to happily get lost within. Leaning into more outré rustic environs than the aforementioned Field Recordings but also sharing some of its nineties-to-noughties left of the dial reference points, River of Amber / Frozen Waterfall is ripe for the ears of those that enjoyed the successive US indie, post-rock, Americana and acid-folk revival scenes through that timeframe.

Consequently, there are warming nods to the most languid wares of Madder Rose and Yo La Tengo (“Forest Gate”, “Time Slowly Melts Away” and “Aunt Myrtle”); the balmy melodicism of early-Lambchop (“Thunder Calling”); the dark yet nakedly beatific moods of Rivulets and Palace Brothers (“The Heart That Lies” and “Faster in the Dark”); the pastoral-prog-psych shapes of Espers (“The Beaten Path Through the High Grass” and “Frozen Waterfall”); and lateral electro-acoustic blissfulness (“Tape Owl”, “Moonshine Sunshine” and more).

Whilst unquestionably a team effort, with its satisfying mash of sound and song crafters, it’s arguable that the many vocal and lyrical moments driven by Cecilia Danell (of A Lilac Decline) give this assortment much of its alluring authority. Taken altogether though, River of Amber / Frozen Waterfall is a low-key triumph to keep coming back to." - Concrete Islands


"These twin albums encompass everything from meditative folk balladry to hypnagogic electronics, via krautrock-inspired rhythms and manipulated orchestral instrumentation." - Norman Records


"Get a taste of this excellent work of art" - This Is Galway

credits

released July 2, 2021

Cubs
'River of Amber/Frozen Waterfall'
(Rusted Rail)
RR50
CD & Download
Release Date: 2 July 2021

Rusted Rail is excited to announce the release of a double album by Galway's psychedelic folk-voyagers Cubs - 'River of Amber/Frozen Waterfall'. The fourth album by the left-of-field folky group emerges at a time when folk-influenced music has risen again in Ireland, though Cubs have been ploughing their own furrow since 2006. Comprised of members of A Lilac Decline, Loner Deluxe, Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon and United Bible Studies, this Cubs double-album is made up of many parallel tributaries from upbeat forest-folk fingerpicking to mellow mood pieces, with detours into sun-dappled songcraft and snowbound fireside folk melodies. The fruits of remote recording sessions conducted during the ongoing global pandemic, these twin albums reflect the times they were made in. 'Frozen Waterfall' was originally a download-only release in the summer of 2020 and now finds a home on Compact Disc (in a gorgeous 6-panel gatefold sleeve) alongside the newer suite of recordings that make up 'River of Amber': the sister-albums share similar musical DNA and act as sonic mirrors to each other. These songs veer from dream-folk balladry to meditative tone poems, high-energy mandolin-melodies and atmospheric acoustic mirages - the album investigates the cosmic pastoral, gazing at the night time sky. River of Amber/Frozen Waterfall is home to dusty banjo, shuddering and shimmering tremolo guitar, lunar blues, head-nodding hypno-folk and countrified kosmische - all underpinned by hypnotic drones, laced with cello, baritone clarinet and occasional fluttering electronic radiophonics. The album finds Cubs traversing territories and sonic space inhabited by ghosts, birds and bells, weaving together a fine patchwork of spooked campfire ballads and space-age folk transmissions. From their homes to yours, may this album provide solace to all.

For the record Cubs were:

Aaron Hurley - Acoustic Guitar (3,6,14,18)
Electric Guitar (1,2,4,5,7,9, 10,11,13,19,20)
Backing Vocals (8,10,16)
Lyrics (3,14)
Mandolin (8,17)
Melodica (17)
Vocals (3,4,6,14)
Yamaha Reface CP (2,16)


Cecilia Danell - Acoustic Guitar (2,4,7,8,9,10,12)
Backing Vocals (3,4,6,8,14)
Banjo (1,6,9,15)
Bells (11)
Birds (15)
Casio SA46 (12)
Lyrics (2,5,7,9,12,18)
Electric Guitar (6,7,8,11,12,19,20)
Shortwave Radio (1)
Snow-walking (5,9)
Vocals (2,5,8,9,10,12,18,20)

James Rider - Acoustic Guitar Loop (10)
12 String Acoustic Guitar (1,11,20)
Banjolin (4)
Bouzouki (13)
Lyrics (6)

Keith Wallace - 12 String Acoustic Guitar (16)
Bass (1,2,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,20)
Backing Vocals (2,3,4,9,14,20)
Beat Generation (10)
Casio SA46 (4,5,8,9,10,18)
Drones (1,6)
Electric Guitar (11,16,20)
Field Recordings (5,6,9)
Found Sound Relaxation Tape (4)
Fuzz Bass (4,5,6,8,11,12,16,17)
Loops (5,9)
Lyrics (8,10,16)
MicroKorg (4,5,9,10,12)
MiniMoog/Theremin (11, 17, 18)
Percussion (3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13,17,20)
Radiophonics (4,6,7,11,14,18,20)
Tambura Drone (4)
Vocals (8,10,12,16)

Scott McLaughlin - Bass Clarinet (5,8,9)
Cello (2,4,5)
Grand Piano (5)
Korg MS20 (15)

with:

Dave Colohan - Flying Saucer Guitar and Ghost Vocals on track 10

Elaine Cosgrove - Field recording of Fergus (the sound hound) on track 9 and of of the trains on track 20, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Aunt Myrtle's Nephew - Lyrics on track 20

1. Solstice Song
2. Forest Gate
3. Faster in the Dark
4. We'll See How The Cat Jumps
5. Crystal World/River of Amber
6. Falling Petals
7. Time Slowly Melts Away
8. Hot Honey Glazes Hills
9. Tape Owl
10. Windflower

Cubs 'Frozen Waterfall'
11. Bramble Ramble
12. Thunder Calling
13. Cold Bulbs
14. The Heat That Lies
15. Moonshine Sunshine
16. Frozen Waterfall
17. The Beaten Path Through the High Grass
18. ...And the Wind
19. Neon Tetra
20. Aunt Myrtle

Production, mix and electrickery by Keith Wallace
recorded in various homes in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Sweden and USA
Mastered by Aaron Hurley


Read an interview with Cubs here - www.advertiser.ie/galway/article/122841/to-the-waters-and-the-wild


Watch a live gig by Cubs here, recorded at Nuns Island Theatre in June 2021 to tie in with the album release - www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEl45V9EEBI


See the 'Forest Gate' music video here - www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGmwqD-8lCA

Watch the video for Faster in the Dark - www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1KHmrhhP_c

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about

Rusted Rail Ireland

www.rustedrail.com

Micro-Independent record label based in Galway Ireland. Home to releases by Songs of Green Pheasant, A Lilac Decline. Cubs, The Driftwood Manor, Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon, The Declining Winter, Good Shepherd, Loner Deluxe and many more. ... more

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