'The finest mountain music to emerge from the flatlands of Milton Keynes - or anywhere else.' ~ RnR Magazine
Bonfire & Pine
Hope In High Water’s new album ‘Bonfire & Pine’ is a story of healing. Following on from their 2017 debut ‘Never Settle’ which explored the death of loved ones, trauma and the breakdown of relationships, ‘Bonfire & Pine’ is the light at the end of the tunnel. It tells of the joy and freedom found in the time between the two albums.
Making the decision to leave their full time jobs, moving to the country to live in a caravan and pursuing a freer and more fulfilling way of life, ‘Bonfire & Pine’ expresses the dream of finding a life of substance. It describes the healing discovered in the great outdoors, in the pursuit of a more connected life and through truly experiencing freedom with all the ups and downs that that brings. Like any progression this also encompasses darkness, explorations of childhood trauma and the pain of grieving but in this offering Hope In High Water are able to take the lessons from these experiences and use them to propel themselves forward.
Musically, although based in the Americana/folk style of their previous offering, ‘Bonfire & Pine’ makes clear nods towards a more diverse palette of influences, with elements of soul and blues being more prevalent. The song ‘Taken Too Much Pride’ even draws upon the Flamenco tradition. Having spent some time in Spain in the last couple of years the passion and unfettered emotion of the music seeped into the writing of the new album and provided a benchmark of honesty and authenticity for the pair to aspire to.
In this spirit of authenticity, no subject was off limits. Choosing to dive into the emotions and experiences that seemed the hardest to share, with the knowledge that in these experiences lay the most fundamental human truths. In ‘It’s Over Now’ Carly discusses the way in which trauma continues to effect day to day existence long into adulthood, all the while taking hope from her own experiences of healing. A theme that is continued in ‘Stronger Than You Know’ a song, which discusses the importance of breaking the chain of abuse.
‘Healed’ is Josh’s expression of moving away from grief and into acceptance, discussing the power of psilocybin experiences as a way of shifting perspective and coming to terms with heartache. This song is a secular re-imagining of the traditional gospel themes of re-birth, with an emphasis on taking responsibility, accepting the things we can’t change and choosing to live in a more loving way.
This is a theme echoed in Carly’s song ‘Something Unnamed’, a beautiful, harmonic acoustic track, reminiscent of The Everly Brothers, which discusses the shift from anger and addiction to finding peace in the mysteries of the universe and the greater sense that something unknown but benevolent runs unseen through the fabric of our existence.
The pair also take on some of the issues of the day with a haunting, stripped back acoustic track about the tragedy at Grenfell. The song re-tells a real life story of a woman, who unaware of the fire building below sat at one of the top floors of the high rise, only to be phoned by her friend who had seen the tragedy unfolding on the television. The friend stayed on the phone as the woman resigned herself to her inevitable fate. This is a song that is as seething as it is sorrowful, raising the great hypocrisies of what is deemed worthy and not worthy of our care and the great inequalities that underpin our economic system. The song ends with the line ‘is this how it’s supposed to be, will we continue to bleed?’ a nod to the rising dissatisfaction and unease at the lack of humanity found in the upper echelons of power and a deep desire for change.
Overall ‘Bonfire & Pine’ is an album of progression, healing and truth. No longer being content to sit in sorrow but instead facing the darkest shadows of who we are and what it means to be human and hopefully emerging on the other side lighter, more grounded and loving people.
Images (c). Lisa Chapman of Primal Creative 2018 and Imelda Michalczyk of Rebeldelica 2019
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Selection of Live Shots
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