Pagan Harvest -
Earth's Secret Engine

(CD 2023, 50:40, Bad Elephant Music)

The tracks:
  1- Earth's Secret Engine(9:35)
  2- Push The Plough(6:37)
  3- One More Notch(5:27)
  4- Nature Ascending(3:26)
  5- Damascus(5:56)
  6- Nature's Song(7:59)
  7- Last Cock Crew(3:14)
  8- Fun Rides(2:45)
  9- Vulture (Bone-breakers)(5:05)

Website      samples     

For the more folkie-inclined, Pagan Harvest is a band which is keeping alive the traditions of the British landscape through their songs which encompass nature and the wonders of rural life. The band is led by Lawrence Reed on guitars, keyboards and percussion, who also writes the lyrics and composes most of the band's songs, and Steve Daymond on bass guitar and vocals. Earth's Secret Engine is their third studio album and this time they are joined by singer Sam Walker and drummer Ellie Daymond.

Beautiful choir like voices start Earth's Secret Engine, the synths coming in over a very sedate rhythm, followed by Sam's warm voice. If Cosmograf ever sounded more folk, they would come very close to sounding like Pagan Harvest. Sam's voice rises ever higher during the song, sounding almost elemental at times.
Push The Plough is a more acoustic song with lots of excellent guitar work and a lovely vibe throughout. The voices blend particularly well together, and it almost sounds as though the song is being played “in the round”.
Equally interesting is One More Notch, a laid-back, slightly eerie song that has a disconcerting spoken chorus line - “on the torture rack”.
Nature Ascending has more of a pronounced beat, Sam's voice sounding urgent and compelling.
Damascus, as its name would indicate is a song about self-realisation that has a more Biblical feel. The acoustic guitars the voices work beautifully together, lots of feeling and emotion coming through within it.
The beautiful start to Nature's Song has a gentle feel, lovely vocal harmonies and a beautiful lilting melody coming in later, together with a narrated section and joyous acoustic guitars.
Those heavenly voices are back at the start of Last Cock Crew, another short plaintive folk song about remorse and loss.
Fun Rides is short, catchy and playful, Reed's cascading piano coming to the fore. Finally, Vultures (Bone-breakers) is a narrated poetic piece with the instrumental line full of intrigue, Daymond's bass guitar rumbling along in the mix.

It's a fascinating collection of songs that captivate and resonate with their important messages about how we treat and respect nature.

*** Alison Reijman

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