Martin Cummings AKA Northerner debuted in 2008 with ‘There’ll Be Other Holidays’ and ten years later returns to similar themes with his third album for Home Assembly ‘End Of The Holiday’. Influenced by travels to Catalan areas of Spain, the album finds Cummings at his most reflective and sonorous. The electronic ticks of his earlier ‘I Am On Your Side’ LP have been pared back somewhat but instead fit neatly in and around his expressive guitar playing.
It’s hard to talk about a Northerner album without mentioning Vini Reilly. The shadow of the Durutti Column guitarist hangs softly over the eight pieces here. The opening track ‘Principi’ sets the tone with gliding atmospherics, exquisite arpeggios and understated beats, followed by the sweetly melancholic ‘Final D’Estiu’ which ups the tempo and beefs up the rhythms until ‘Dijous with it’s shuffling bossamba flow, cements the albums Balearic appeal. But there are other influences at play here too, something of Emeralds guitar whizz Mark McGuire can be heard in the intricate guitar embellishments and cavernous, brooding tension of ‘Nomes Jo’.
Elsewhere, the dusty bump of ‘Una Nocio’ conjures up hazy memories of early evening, poolside liveners and the widescreen ambience of ‘Arribant Al Final’ could be the soundtrack to an arid coastal drive. But before we start getting all a bit too holiday brochure, really ‘End Of The Holiday’ is an album for reflection, for change, an all instrumental ode to half remembered summers, a sound collage of a faded July postcard, it is a reminder of warmer climes, long summer days recollected fondly, as autumn slides into winter.
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I keep going back and listening to this new disc by Memory Drawings, as it is all kinds of wonderful. Entirely instrumental, it features gorgeous hammered dulcimer and aching violins, and is a blend of ethereal sounds and dreamy orchestral passages with elements of ambient and shoegaze. It keeps hooking me in and drawing me back; this is an incredibly passionately emotive and meditative jewel. Eve McGivern