Album review: Reigndear

Reigndear album cover - Good Old Fashioned Life Afterbirth

Good Old Fashioned Birth

Title: Good Old Fashioned Life Afterbirth

Artist: Reigndear

Label: Unsigned

Release: 09/09/09

Country: South Africa

With a wide-eyed view on the myriad complexities offered by life (and death), Reigndear sing expressive lyrics with ‘a nostalgic look at the present through the past & future’. According to the band, the name was inspired by an inner quality inherent in all human beings that ‘pushes us to succeed in finding contentment on Earth, whether attainable or not’.

Consisting of Kent Dylan, Wesley Jay and Goldsmiths graduate John Atterbury (see his interview here), Reigndear’s sound derives from the multi-faceted talents of its members. Kent provides lead vocals, writes the songs, handles online and print design, strums guitar (alongside many other instruments), and takes beautiful photos. Wesley handles backing vocals, filming and video editing, and does song writing and guitar work ; he also takes 50% of all Reigndear photographs . John is on bass, melodica, mandolin, and glockenspiel; he is also their arranger and producer. His influence on the band as a film composer becomes apparent from beautiful trembling strings floating over deep, cinematic moods. A subtle mix of electronic ambience and organic sounds makes for a truly original journey into Reigndear’s realm of experimental folk.

Eschewing complex production for raw, emotive soundscapes, many of the tracks use an acoustic guitar accompanied by nothing but Kent’s soft vocals, forming a striking musical dialogue (at times, eerily) under-scored by ambient textures. Occasional string interludes add a splash of orchestral colour in tracks like ‘Wee Embers’, their restrained instrumentation making them feel all the more powerful and emotive. Not all of the tracks are as gentle and mellow, however. ‘Blackeyes’ is joined by acoustic drums and crashing cymbals, creating a head-nodding rhythm driven by thumping finger bass.

A gallery of Reigndear’s photography is available as wallpaper, and their full-length album is generously available to download for free.

Good Old Fashioned Life Afterbirth – numbered and hand-sealed with Reigndear’s official seal, including lyrical inlay – is now out of print. Pre-order in writing to for details on the next limited  run. The polished commercial release of Good Old Fashioned Life Afterbirth is due out 10/10/10, and three-album box set Good Old Fashioned Death, Birth & Life will be released on 11/11/11.

Reigndear presents a collage of sombre emotions, acoustic sounds and stygian poetry in warm, approachable song writing. Recorded in a sunny bedroom in South Africa with naught but a little microphone and a laptop, the album was made with great love and care from start to finish – and it shows.

Reigndear are currently performing in and around Taiwan, with gigs lined up until December when the band will visit New York to meet with their new manager, Tom Sarig (Lou Reed, Cake, Blonde Redhead). The band will be touring Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, England and Brazil based on demand. Find out if Reigndear are coming near you by subscribing to their mailing list.

<a href="">Fourteenth by Reigndear</a>

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