Bardic Depths, The - The Bardic Depths,
So here we have the debut album from The Bardic Depths, which is also their third. Confused? In some ways this is the third album from Birzer Bandana, being Dave Bandana (vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, percussion, flute and harmonica )and Brad Birzer (spoken word), but as this was such a dramatic change in so many ways they felt it was only right they started again under a new name, which makes total sense to me. I first came across Dave years ago when he was working with the other Dave in Salander (emails used to be always signed from Dave and Dave, really confusing). Over recent years he has been incredibly prolific, and he is right when he says this album deserved a new name. They have brought in many guests this time to flesh out the sound, including the likes of Peter Jones (Camel, Tiger Moth Tales), Tim Gehrt (Streets, Steve Walsh), Gareth Cole (Tom Slatter, Fractal Mirror) and Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf). I was really pleased to see Gehrt involved as one of my pet peeves has always been the use of programmed drums, and to see live drums on at least some of the songs is a definite move in the right direction.
The new musical change, which in many ways is far more keyboards based, seems to have meant there was no room for violinist Olga Kent, which is a shame as I thought she had a lot to offer but it is going to be interesting to see where the band go from here. This is reflective but considered, delicate but with an inner strength, compassionate yet with power. The saxophone on the first section of “Depths of Time” is incredibly poignant, and with just a some held-down keyboards and a picked electric guitar to play against (plus some thunder in the background), it is incredibly dramatic.
At the time of writing this, I am the only person who has written a review of either of the Birzer Bandana albums, and no-one else has reviewed The Bardic Depths, but surely it can only be a matter of time until their name becomes more recognisable. They have moved a long way with this, created a far fuller sound, and if the next album is as far removed from this one as this is from the last, then it will be absolutely essential. As it is, this is a really nice album which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and in many ways is probably the most complete work I have heard from Dave to date, even pre-dating his relationship with Brad. Let’s have real drums throughout on the next one and try to keep the same people involved as this is progressing nicely. Really nicely.