Elevating Levant valiance, American folk-rocker softens his ensemble’s blow and casts a spell upon the sound.
For all the electric intensity this collective eagerly embrace, it’s easy to suggest that Scott Jeffers’ offerings are more often than not are born acoustically, what with the American artist being a violin player who also mastered an array of ethnic instruments which must be unplugged by their very nature. No wonder, then, in his wish to discard artificial vigor in favor of restoring the original sound of some of the band’s previously released pieces when sliding back in time on “Ancient Lands” where a handful of fresh cuts flesh out the hybrid context. In fact, the tracks hailing from "Phoenicia" and "Fields Forever" even feel differently here – hypnotically, and stirringly, so.
From the misty winds and strings of “Tripoli” to the arresting arrangement of “Hava Nagila” and on most of the numbers between, whether instrumental compositions or songs, this album crawls under the listener’s skin, making them shiver and shake to the ever-shifting beats that may try on a belligerent guise on the almost symphonic oratorio “War Drum” but sculpt a dance-inducing drama for “Epta / Octo” – only to pass a pacified drift to the record’s titular ballad and allow Scott’s fiddle soar to the skies. However, the twangy “Turkish Malfouf” is a joyous as it gets, and “100 Miles” is propelled to the greener pastures with handclaps for quite a long time before Jeffers’ passionate vocals enter the frame, while “Patty’s Song” unhurriedly streams a captivating story over a tight strum, gaining pace along the way.
And that’s exactly the way any journey should go – with flaming emotions and resolve.