A couple of months (2, actually makes sense to say it this time) we introduced you to a band called August Actually. Yes we did.
Sadly, all members of the band were lost at sea in Scotland, near the island of Fang Rock (which suspiciously looks like Flannan Isle). What was found besides a washed up cardboard robot was a five song EP called Songs from the lighthouse.
A sort of conceptual album, the underlying theme seems to be the sea: lighthouses, whales, marooning, Captain Nemo (not actually), Rutans (definitely not) and sea shanties.
Songs from the lighthouse does has a lot of ambient, even if for moments it feels like a very quiet album, letting sometimes a lone instrument walk hand in hand with vocals (the tender ‘Whale of a tale!’ comes to mind). The trumpet plays the role of a foghorn, warning us of difficult seas and some heartfelt tales. It sets the stage brilliantly for this folky EP with ‘The Lighthouse keeper’s song’.
We talked before about ‘I can’t promise you forever’ and it still feels like a slightly downbeat folk lamentation. Love the banjo in this song, even if it’s a little buried in the mix; you can still get the subtle poetry of said instrument.
Two last hymns to the seas (and those lost at its treacherous tantrums). ‘Lost at sea’ is a little cruel. It might be very upbeat in rhythm but the subject matter is everything but. “You will die in shore […] I will find my fate here in the deep”. ‘He died as he lived’ is the sobering end to the EP, another heartbreaking song. It’s funny how the genre of folk can be so vivacious in its music (flutes, trumpets, panpipes, you name it) while still being like oral history (and all the depressing facts attached to it).
In closing: “Ay, though we hunted high and low /And hunted everywhere / Of the three men’s fate we found no trace / Of any kind in any place / But a door ajar and an untouched meal /And an overtoppled chair“*. 5 songs surviving a sea mystery, let’s hope August Actually come back from the deep and create more songs.
*Flannan Isle by William Wilson Gibson. Happy halloween.