‘Sheltering Sky’, from Mt Went, is the latest record to appear on Lost Tribe Sound’s ongoing Fearful Void series. The debut project from Andy Cartwright (Seabuckthorn) and Dave Anderson (Von Braun) features low-hanging, melancholic guitar and male vocals, which both converge to produce ashen indie songs with plenty of bleak melodic fuel to fan its lyrical flames.
Sheltering Sky was recorded eleven years ago, back in 2010, when the two friends lived in the same UK town of Witney, Oxfordshire, and perhaps surprisingly, the album has never seen a proper release. In 2018, Cartwright returned to the album to clean it up, but this also had the effect of refreshing the project. The two friends realised that it was about time for a sequel, and Lit Way Down is the result, which also appears as part of the Fearful Void series.
The murky and downtrodden acoustic songs of Sheltering Sky rise up like smoke, its minor-breathing, overcast mood not being totally gloomy but feeling plagued. Much like the UK, light avoids them. Lead single ‘Respectable Prostitute’ adds dulled rhythmic palpitations to its potent blend of guitar and voice, while ‘Ember Wildly’ is populated with off-colour and slightly dissonant notes, which ring together and overlap to create a slanted, dark atmosphere. Even entrenched in trouble and anguish, it’s still beautiful, and there’s a cosy feel to the music – although it’s capable of traveling down darker, scarier paths.
The slow, tired strumming of an acoustic and a wounded vocal is all that’s needed; these songs are stripped-back, cabin-in-the-woods affairs, with a darker approach that so befits indie / alternative / folk. Despite the stripped-away atmosphere, there’s plenty of meat on the music’s bones thanks to the depth of the guitar and the strained emotions that crawl out from the voice box. Well worth checking out!