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Sub Luna - Awake

Awake is the second album from Sub Luna, a Swedish duo who at the time of recording comprised Mikael Lindblom and Fredrik Sööberg. This is quietly subdued dark folk, competently performed on plain acoustic guitars with laconic breathy vocals. The opening tracks pick up on Current 93 and Death In June- the almost Michael Cashmore stylings of the opener 'When We Did Rejoice' and 'A Wakening' whose warm gentle strum is closer to Death In June. On Awake Sub Luna manage to stretch the template in their own way. For a start the lead vocals are split between the two members, and a full drum kit appears to be used rather than just toms and cymbals - an approach so favoured by dark folk outfits. Awake traverses into other areas too. Just listen to the melodic pop sounds of 'A Distance Between'. Its lazy hushed vocals remind me of late period Jesus and Mary Chain, the acoustic guitars bound with electric guitar chords and organ swirl. It's the kinda thing that Rose McDowall does so well. An electric lead snakes through the familiar strum of 'Fading With Time'.

These forays are too few and far between though and Awake, which does draw from a broad range of influences, remains solidly within the dark folk genre. 'A Song For My Lady Before The Snow' carries a strong sixties folk feel, its rhythmic vocal delivery matching the sprightly pluck and strum swept away by rolling drums. Ann-Mari Thim of Arcana supplies harmonious backing vocals to the melodic piano and acoustic sounds of 'The Silence Broken'. 'Nightfall' merges vibrant strum and rolling drums with passages of whispered voice and light touches of guitar. Much more mournful in its presentation is 'On Fallen Stars' its lulling guitars accompanied by a weeping trumpet score.

It's perhaps telling that my favourite moments on Awake are 'A Distance Between' and 'On Fallen Stars'. Since recording Awake Fredrik Sööberg has left, leaving Mikael Lindblom as the sole member. Awake is a solid and competent release of dark folk, and marks the inaugural release on Cyclic Law's new Eclipse imprint. For more information go to