Album Review / Ninebarrow: A Pocket Full of Acorns

”Let’s go back there, you and I, where the hills stretch high towards the sun / we’ll go walking in the rain, when the days don’t end the same”

That’s from Come January, a beautiful song and the first track of A Pocket Full of Acorns. I may by now be slightly obsessed by the present time and see covid references all over the place but those words immediately resonated with me on first listen. Don’t we all look forward to a time when days don’t end the same?

And so much for my interpretetations.

Actually, what really struck me when I pressed play on this album was how naturally the Dorset duo can revive that Simon and Garfunkel feel. I don’t mean in a soundalike or copycat sense (although the first verses of Come January do sound a lot like S&G), it’s about the vibe of two male voices that complement each other perfectly. It’s just great.

Compared to their previous outings, A Pocket… does not turn a new page as far as style and overall feel is concerned. It’s all acoustic (I think) and comes with the same combination of tender fragility and vast inner strength that defines the Ninebarrow sound. The lyrics are focused on the natural world, maybe even more than before. Trees, forests, mountains, seasons and rivers abound, with an anthem to ol’ John Barleycorn in the mix too.

But even if there is there is nothing radically new, I feel this one is a notch warmer, more thought out and rounded than its predecessors. I’ve enjoyed all previous Ninebarrow albums a lot, but here the vision seems more fully realized than before. It’s hard to put into words but I definitely feel it. In my books, this is their best one yet.

My favorites are the aforementioned Come January; Under the Fence with its protest song feel; the title track and the point it makes of our unity with nature; the beautiful Teignmouth and the closing, Sailors All, that somehow makes the obvious point ”we are sailors all until we have landed / we are both great and small / sailors all” very moving indeed.

*****

A Pocket Full of Acorns is available as both CD and download on their web site:
https://www.ninebarrow.co.uk/live

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