Album release: One Mile An Hour by One Mile An Hour
Release date: 1 October 2012
Label: Snowbird Records
Also available: 250 ltd edition 180g vinyl
It’s often remarked that we are all products of our environment. So when 3-piece One Mile An Hour began to put together their debut album, they were only ever going to achieve the result they wanted by constructing their own studio. A space built at the top of a house, overlooking the sea on the south coast, became the scene for the recording of this complex, introverted outsider-folk record.
One Mile An Hour chose to self-produce the album in order to capture the record’s recurring themes, which most notably come in the form of the outdoors and nature. Things used, wasted, squandered and lost sit alongside more hopeful ideas of escape and salvation, all forming part of one all-encompassing continual idea of humanity, our relationships and love. The album was mastered by John Dent (John Martyn, Nick Drake, PJ Harvey).
Vocalist Jeff Kightly covers some seemingly bleak ground at times; “for open are the arms from which hope can unfold…Some'll see stone where another knows gold… ” (In Return), “Magpie is faking that my ink is running dry when the black eyed dog calls” (Magpie Song). Outdoor themes became integral following the band's immersion in Scandinavian landscape and literature – the form and structure rather than the content itself. Trouble’s Roots references Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book, while In Return was influenced by the backdrops of Finnish folk tales.
One Mile An Hour is an album oozing ideas and ambition. It’s cinematic yet intimate. Busy yet controlled. Opening track Sunken Ships sets a breezy tone, Kightly’s gorgeous falsetto curling tightly around understated guitar-play, while You Are On Beach aligns deft riffing with melancholy verses and emotive chord progressions. Elsewhere, tracks are allowed to breathe and weave but surge forward, focused on their ultimate resolution (the 10 minute album closer, Nine Eight). The band’s musical fluency, drive and intricacy make the whole record feel less a result of direct influence by other artists, and more like a conversation between the likes of Pentangle, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Grateful Dead, John Martyn, The Band, CSN&Y – in which One Mile An Hour are the topic of discussion.
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