Balmorhea_coverYou know that Family Guy episode where Peter makes a wish, and he wishes that he could have his own theme tune, and then everything he does is soundtracked by an appropriate musical accompaniment? If my life was anything like what I wanted it to be, then this album would be my incidental music. I’m walking across an anonymous moorland, rain lashing my face, wind-swept hair, thick black robe flapping in the gale, beard down to my knees, Balmohea’s ‘Coahuila’ playing in the air. I’m lying on my back in some nameless American plain, starlight flickering across my face, open fire spit-roasting a wild-boar, the smell of freedom on the breeze, ‘Rememberance’ echoing off the mountains. What a beautiful life I would have to lead if this were my soundtrack.Given that Balmorhea’s sound is a lyricless one, and any number of words couldn’t possibly describe what’s going on here, it feels both tiresome and slightly insulting to the beauty of what the duo have created to try and write words about this album. I’m slightly at a loss for what I can say. It’s a wonderful, sweeping epic of an album, evoking countless times and places. The song titles, ‘Remembrance’, ‘Elegy’, ‘March 4, 1831’ and ‘November 1, 1832’ look back and long for a forgotten past, but there’s a timeless quality, something that suggests these songs will remain beautiful as long as the natural world that inspired them remains so.The step forward this album takes over predecessor Rivers Arms is in taking some pointers from contemporaries. The major points of reference are still Debussy, Stravinsky, and other sweeping classical composers. But the hand-clap section (and let’s face it, what song couldn’t be improved by clapping?) on opener ‘Settler’ is straight out of Sigur Ros’ ‘Gobbledigook’, there are moments of of swelling, almost brutal electric guitar that would have cut through their previous albums like a chainsaw, but here fit unexpectedly, but comfortably, into the landscape.There’s a little part of me that has been quietly waiting for this album for a long, long time. It’s as moving and epic as the most grandiose of classical compositions, but it remains as accessible as anything else we review on this site. Your life is missing this.85%Balmorhea on Myspace