Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Serenity is an elusive flower, it is all around us, breathing deeply, urging us to look deep within our souls and spread the feeling onwards, like a happy virus, it seeks us out to be admired and worshiped but then like any God, hides itself away in the darkness when the going gets a little too much, a little disturbing, the shutters come down and serenity is mistaken for the pursuit of money and fame. Happiness always comes at a price, peace never should.
Andrew Finn Magill’s pursuit of the serene has not wavered, it is still pure, as steadfast an aged Oak holding out against a storm, a cascade of clouds dancing above its head and allowing the tree to be lashed, like a sailor to the helm, by a thousand lightning strikes and the torrential rains of indifference and anger. It is a pursuit that sees the musician follow up his beautiful album Roots, with the other end of the tree, the outward looking and genre spreading Branches.
Once more Mr. Magill offers the glimpse of serenity to his listeners, the hint that many never fathom out is in their grasp and yet search endlessly through thickets of despair and the shrubs of greed as they fill their lives with the meaningless and obsolete. It may be only a glimpse of serenity but as the pressure builds, as the music and the soul of the musician take over, a glimpse is all you need, for the destination, the final moment of the journey should always be arrived at under your own steam, the sign post laid out before just enough of a clue for you to follow your own star to the point of contentment.
The instrumental tracks that make up the album, the listener’s own words can infiltrate between the notes, give them a spark that the virtuoso performance deserves and in the breathtaking majesty comes a form through the mist that must be saluted. In tracks such as Hilda Harlow, the fantastic Mary and Alice, the desirable What Bloomed in April and the stillness of December, Andrew Finn Magill uncovers the point of serenity, that you may look as hard as you want in the roots of any life, but it is in the branches, the flowering of limbs away from the trunk that holds the key.
Ian D. Hall