Named after a line from C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, their new album Rainbow Plumage, Blue Shadows and Emptiness is an immersive world of compelling field recordings – wind-blown church bells, eerily echoing halls, distant chatter – atmospheric vignettes and disarming, often heart-warming songs. The elements fuse into an ageless story of light and shade, redemption and mystery - appealing as much to adherents of Angela Carter, Roald Dahl or Philip Pullman as to fans of Tom Waits singing ‘Bend Down the Branches’, Sun Ra’s reading of ‘Pink Elephants on Parade’ on Hal Willner’s Stay Awake Disney film music tribute or even the fantasy world conjured by the late Jim Henson in his 1986 musical, Labyrinth.
Age of Not Believing consists of a shifting cast of wonder-struck musicians under the benign stewardship of sometime radio DJ, podcaster, French horn player, music promoter and self-styled ‘dreamer-in-chief’, Ben Eshmade.
The album, meticulously produced by Les Mommsen, with consistently mesmerising arrangements by Harry Escott, overseen by Ben Eshmade, is one that that, for all its stylistic serpentines, instrumental caprices, multiple authors and 50/50 division between originals and covers, casts an unswervingly poignant spell – a testament to the ensemble’s collective will and the vision of its dreamer-in-chief. As he says, “You need to be serious about magical things”.