Directorsound – I Hunt Alone

Directosound - I Hunt Alone

Directorsound – I Hunt Alone

The Bournemouth-born and Bristol-based Nicholas Palmer certainly isn’t one to rush out albums under his Directorsound alias, given that this first release on Second Language is only the third ‘official’ long-player in the space of ten years.  Yet he’s certainly not been idle in-between times given that his key role in The A. Lords (both as a standalone enterprise and as a backing ensemble for returning folk legend Mark Fry) has occupied much of his recent creative capacity.  However, his Directorsound project is seemingly not built for being super-prolific anyway.  Directorsound recordings, it appears, take time to marinate and mature before meeting the public.  This new LP seems no exception to that rule.

Recorded as far back as the summer of 2011 and inspired by a holiday to Transylvania the previous year, I Hunt Alone comes with a conceptual ambition attached to make “a cohesive, narrative-driven folk horror symphony.”  Quite how this aim has been achieved across the album is hard to gauge because generally it seems quite far from being immersed in rural darkness.  Perversely this apparently failed objective is to the album’s benefit.  For although there are some shadowy passages within its eight gathered tracks, ultimately I Hunt Alone has a heartening uplifting mood that feels ripe for breaking through this year’s seemingly never-ending British winter gloom, with spring-like freshness and optimism.

From the woozy flutes, balmy accordions and rippling acoustic guitars of the opening “Pan In Paradise” inwards, the multi-instrumentalist Palmer (supported by a handful of guest contributors) unfurls a collection that is rich with pan-global pastoral charm.  Hence, through the percussive madrigal-like “Serpent In The Jaws Of October,” within the intimate guitar-picking of the title-track, via the Beirut-style Balkan waltzing of “Sun Dazed And Dancing,” inside the filmic Yann Tiersen-indebted woodwind and strings of “Daggers,” across the epic and sometimes carnivalesque “Nocturne For Grace,” amidst the Francophile accordion-led “La Strega E Lo Stolto” and into the tranquil laidback finale of “Turnal Cu Ceas,” Palmer travels far and wide but remains adroitly focused in one overall cohesion-sustaining direction.

Whilst I Hunt Alone might not win Directorsound a raft of extra new followers, it should at least comfortably find affection amongst the fans of the Second Language label that have already been groomed to embrace artists with the confidence and skill to work outside pre-conceived genre norms.

Second Language