Some music stands out as timeless and some stands out as being of its time. No one could accuse “Hand Rolled Halo” by Edinburgh’s The Eastern Swell as being of this time but that does not mean that this album is without merit. Far from it.
It would indeed be true to state that reviving the rambling folk rock sound and decorating it with neo psychedelic influences and eurotrash soundtrack cues is a long walk away from the cutting edge yet, to resurrect another saying from the past, the proof is in The Eastern Swell’s pudding. The pacing is casual throughout these eight songs yet there is much to capture your attention with the main ingredients in this recipe for reflection being Lainie Urquhart’s always prevalent voice that forever enchants and entrances your ears with wistful sincerity and Chris Reeve’s guitar always skilfully used as a supportive time machine reaching forever into the past for the divine inspiration needed to capture the wind.
Despite the generally languorous mood – only “Zeitgeist” even threatens to tempt you to your feet – it nonetheless isn’t long before you find yourself transported to some alternative reality where there are mermaids on the seashore with each of these songs advancing you steadily towards the end of a windswept pier.
That’s one more thing that you can say about “Hand Rolled Halo”. It’s deep just like the sea.