Aerialists – Dear Sienna

Album Review | Fiddlehead Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

Formed in 2014 by Berklee College of Music students Adam Iredale-Gray, Elise Boeur and Mairi Chaimbeul, Aerialists explore a broad range of influences on this, their second full-length album. Dear Sienna covers a lot of ground not only in its diverse influences but also in the varied locations in which the album was conceived and produced, from Glasgow, Vermont, Boston and Toronto to New York and Gothenburg.  Some of that diversity is evident in the compositions, such as ancient 300 year-old “An Gille Dubh Ciar Dubh”, a love song explored by Chaimbeul within the frame of a complex time signature.  Despite the variety, there’s a sense of unity that brings all these songs together, which makes for enjoyable listening.

The harp and fiddle combination on the title instrumental is augmented by an informed rhythm section, giving “Dear Sienna” a fine contemporary sound. If the band’s flair for arrangement offers some highly textured and fluid performances, the songs further benefit from some excellent vocals courtesy of Swedish singer Isa Holmgren on “Jag Vill”, Canadian singer songwriter Taylor Ashton on “Lessons in the Losing” and Mairi Chaimbeul on both “An Gille Dubh Ciar Dubh” and the ethereal “Orchard”.  An interesting collaboration that sounds as if some serious thought has gone into the project.

Choice Track: Jag Vill (NSV 493)