REVIEW : CHARM OF FINCHES – WONDERFUL OBLIVION (2022)

‘Wonderful Oblivion’ is the third long player by Melbourne modern folk duo Charm of Finches and follows up their last album release `Your Company` from late 2019.. This album contains songs of love, grief and whispering trees from sister’s Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes. The duo say “We write contemporary folk songs inspired by our personal experiences of love, grief and nature and describe their music as contemporary chamber folk.

The album opens with `Concentrate On Breathing` which has a kind of otherworldly beginning before becoming a rolling dream like offering with delightful harmonic vocals, a guiding drum heartbeat, violin swathes and occasional horns. A number that could be read may ways lyrically as a remedy for anxiety or a fear of an uncertain future glimpsed. There was an almost Enya like texture about `Gravity` which had intricate guitar chords, piano and cello adding to the captivating vocal harmonies. A tale of broken dreams or plans and a friend`s decline quite possibly.

`Heavy` is fairly stripped back with vocals and a piano that ebbs and flows as the number progresses recounting as to how quickly life passes us by. We have layered vocal harmonies on `Pockets Of Stones` a number that gains in musical depth as it evolves. A seemingly cathartic comparative narrative of past and present.

`As A Child` is a stripped back submission that is an introspective reflection on ones formative years growing up and their impact. An acoustic guitar where you can hear the fingers gliding over the frets and a piano lead us through `Miranda` which relates to an acquaintance who has a close friendship with somebody and wishes it were so much more. A song that sums up unrequited love and all the pain associated with it and in this case tragedy.

We have another introspective musing on friendship with `Treading Water` which to me brought to mind some of the wonderfully intensive observations that the late Elliot Smith shared. The addition of cello strings added to the overall poignancy of this piece. A viola leads us into and through `Goodnight` a reflection on the passing of a loved one and trying to move on but still retaining some of the aching desire to return or experience certain aspects of that time shared.

`Canyon` seems to be about pushing yourself to the limits of your ability. A simple but effective composition with vocal harmonies and a strummed acoustic guitar. We have a brief instrumental soundscape with `Into The Well`.

The album closes out with the ethereal dreamlike title track `Wonderful Oblivion` which seems to allude to how fate probably has a part to play in how your life turns out.

The album was brought to life as Mabel Windred-Wornes sang vocals and played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, cello, and ukulele, while sister Ivy Windred-Wornes sang vocals and played violin, banjo, and glockenspiel. The duo were assisted by Daniel Ledwell who played drums, percussion, bass, electric guitar, piano, harp, flugelhorn, and trombone with Finn Milne adding piano on `Pockets of Stones` and Indyana Kippin supplying the viola on `Goodnight`.

`Wonderful Oblivion` needs a few plays to really seep into your soul and is certainly worth the effort to ensure this happens.

 Rating 8 /10