Arbouretum’s fifth full-length sees the Baltimore-based quartet painting their desert doom tunes black. Drawing from a wellspring of nature-based imagery, and sludgy walls of rock guitar, the band has created another wide-sweeping meditation on damnation and redemption.
Frontman Dave Heumann doesn’t just sing — he emotes, his guttural baritone rasping over every syllable of Coming Out of the Fog‘s eight tracks. His sincere and direct vocal approach matches the album’s everyman appeal. Variations on this theme are offered. “The Promise” showcases quick-fingered Hendrix-style guitar lines and heavy syncopation. At heart, “The White Bird” is a folk tune, complete with slide guitar and whispered refrains. Likewise, “Oceans Don’t Sing” has a classic Americana vibe, stomping through the same dusty landscape where Calexico has staked their claim. But all the tonal shifts, murky refrains, and blunt-force poetics can’t hide the meat-and-potatoes rock band that Arboretum has become.