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Pelt: Effigy

Appalachian drone epics with spectacular emotion

American long-forum guitarist Jack Rose died in 2009, and Pelt, his former band, played at his wake, burning a photograph of him during their set. "Ashes of a Photograph," clearly a requiem for a friend, is the heart of this epic new double-album, its harmonium note sustained for 22 overwhelming minutes, as chords and wild strings shift around it. Like Rose (as well as John Fahey), Pelt join the dots between Eastern mysticism and American roots music, but where Rose used acoustic guitar, Pelt add fiddles, chants, bells. It's ultimately centred around the spiritual drone but "Wings of Dirt" is enlivened by percussion that falls beautifully between Cork and Amritsar.

-- Ben Beaumont-Thomas, Uncut