(DGR reviews the swansong album by England’s Returning We Hear the Larks.)
Returning We Hear the Larks was one of the many guitar projects that really gained steam in late 09/early 2010. The brainchild of one young guitarist Jak Noble, it first came to my attention as one of the many solo guitar projects that were then being released for free. Come to find out, I was ridiculously late, as this specific train had long since left the station and kicked a whole slate of material out from the then still-new concept of a bedroom guitar prodigy’s studio.
Yet, there I was, checking in with the disc Ypres, which dealt with a famed World War I battleground. The music was decidedly djent, but something about it really caught my attention. Maybe it was that Jak had already developed an amazing sense of ambience and was using it to build pictures with sound – managing a very difficult feat of making the music actually evoke something.
Maybe it was partially the note he attached to the disc about how he had lost it at said battleground and felt he had to do something with the rush of emotion that hit him. I always felt that specifically suggested that Returning was something far deeper and more mature than simply another multi-string dick-waving affair.
When he turned around and added vocals to the next release, an EP known as Proud England, I found myself initially skeptical, but surprisingly it worked out. Jak proved to have quite the set of lungs on him, for a good, harsh high scream and a decent low. Little bit of an awkward singing voice, but nothing so offensive as to subtract from the excellent music underneath.
Another thing that differentiated Returning from other groups of similar ambition was that Jak never made it as prolific as other projects. Some serious time passed between his previous Returning release (the single Line-Trap) and this one, 2013’s late-June release, Far Stepper/Of Wide Sea. Given my childish gushing about this project in the opening you’d better believe that I was excited about this one.