Sleeping Me: Cradlesongs
Hidden Shoal

Poised and graceful are but two of the words that come to mind while listening to Cradlesongs, Clayton McEvoy's beautiful debut collection of electric guitar settings. Like a balm to the tortured soul, the material invites the listener to step away from whatever darknesses may be shadowing his/her life and find solace in forty-eight minutes of transporting serenades. Though it's generally of a more soothing disposition, McEvoy's music isn't ambient per se, as his pieces often swell in dramatic character and sonic design. Certainly the generous use of reverb reveals a shoegaze influence, as do the guitar swells coursing through “Legs Like Gravestone.”

In the opening “Empty Cradles,” the slow and carefully-modulated unfurl of limpid guitar shadings creates a stirring melancholy that bodes well for the material to come. A gentle waltz rhythm underpins the shimmering flow of “First Cell, First Love,” while, lugubrious and brooding, “Egdon Heath” unfolds like a mysterious church setting. The soft sustain that chimes through tracks such as “Here in the North” gives the music a hymnal, even celestial quality, an effect taken to a higher level in the closing “The Rattle in Our Throats” which spreads its reverberant haze for eight rapturous minutes, and the lulling waltz setting “Cradlesong” shows that even a simpler and relatively untreated presentation can charm too. Though Clayton's name may not be all that familiar, he recently contributed to The Refractors' Eight Year Sleep and collaborates with Jorge Mantas under the name The Beautiful Schizophonic. His impressive debut outing certainly suggests that Cradlesongs won't be the last time we'll hear his name.

August 2009