Album & Single Reviews

Published on September 6th, 2017 | by Mike Ainscoe


The Blackheart Orchestra: Diving For Roses – album review



Right Track Records

“too unpredictable for pop, too adventurous for the mainstream

and too plain weird for folk”

Sounds right up our street. The Manchester singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist duo came to our attention after a feature in PROG magazine – the power of the media at work.  Being local too is a bonus PLUS they have a refreshing attitude to their music – proper hand played instruments (in the same way that Queen once proudly announced ‘no synthesisers’ on their album sleeves) and enough of a collection of gear to allow their arrangements to expand the possible limitations of a duo resulting in the  fill and swell of strings, electronica and even, ‘mock-prog-shock’ horror, beats.

They also follow what’s been called an organic, as opposed to theoretical, approach to their music. “Key? What key?” might be the underlying principle to composition for Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington. As AC/DC and many others know full well, it’s as much about feel and passion as anything else.

So ‘Diving For Roses’ is truly contrasting  in scope and style; cinematic yet intimate and fragile and packed with contrasting emotions – fear and love, joy and sadness, night and day, life and death, from intense and soaring  to dreamy and tranquil. An album then that offers an ethereal and atmospheric experience and one  with plenty to offer in terms of  hooks and melodies.  The dangerous love portrayed in ‘Sebastian’ introduces us to the breathy Mostyn style  and the Blackheart acoustic roots  ensure  a fragility about some of their work that gets a first heads up on the exquisite ‘Now We Are Ghosts’ (pick of the pops for this album we reckon)and in the gossamer hush of  ‘I’m Yours’.

There are nods to various musical influences so see if you can spot the glimpse of ‘Nights In White Satin’ organ in ‘Wake Up’ or the more obvious  Oldfield inspiration on the opening looped and delayed guitar passage of ‘Hypnotize’, the cascades of guitar  ringing  before an abrupt close as the voice takes up the entrancement. We’ll also pride ourselves on the fact that we’re one review that got almost to the end before mentioning Kate Bush…

Here’s the video for ‘Sebastian’:

You can find the Blackheart Orchestra website  here:

They are  also on  Facebook  and Twitter

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About the Author

Mike's mellowed in his old age, discovering the delights of traditional folk and acoustic music and the constant stream of new music coming through his passion as a gig-goer, music photographer and writer. With favourite artists and favourite songs which change daily, even hourly, he adds another spoke to the Sonic Bandwagon wheel of fortune.

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