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After five albums with Arbouretum, the band which he founded in 2002, singer and guitarist Dave Heumann has taken advantage of a year-long break in the band's activities to record his first solo album, Here in The Deep.

Those familiar with Arbouretum's psychedelic take on classic folk-rock will find plenty to enjoy here, although Heumann has chosen to try a few different approaches on the album, which serve to underline its status as a definite solo album, and not just a patchwork of Arbouretum leftovers.

Anyone who has seen Arbouretum live will be aware of Heumann's prowess in creating mesmerising, trance-like guitar solos which often take the songs into unexpected places, yet here he has shown restraint. Together with producer (and PJ Harvey collaborator) John Parish he has assembled ten varied pieces which expand his songwriting palette, rather than his virtuosity on the guitar. Perhaps most surprising of all is that most of the songs clock in around the three or four-minute mark - the point where a lot of Arbouretum songs are just getting started.

Having said that, many of the highlights still revolve around his guitar playing. One of the prettiest pieces here is the acoustic instrumental 'Leaves Underfoot', which manages to showcase his guitar playing within a clever, yet delicate, arrangement. The dreamy 'Holly King on a Hill' is built around interplay between a melodic acoustic guitar and a reversed electric guitar. The overall effect is both unsettling and engaging.

Folk melodies dominate the album, and the most traditional of these is 'Greenwood Side', a standard recorded by the likes of Joan Baez, which Heumann has now recreated as a duet with Jenn Wassner of Wye Oak. The wistful 'Cloud Mind' is the strongest of his original folk songs, with some fine acoustic guitar playing and a drifting, lengthy melody line.

There are a couple of miss-fires - the opening track 'Switchback' is a fairly ordinary slow rock song and the closing track 'By Jove' is a weird synthetic filler, but in between there is enough to hold your interest.

As if to underline the fact that this is not an Arbouretum album, it seems that its most immediate and memorable songs would not suit the band. 'Ides of Summer' is a slice of indie-jangle that would not sound out of place beside REM's early material, and the moody title track recalls the understated power of someone like Yo La Tengo or Low.

'Ends of the Earth' combines the best of both this album and Arbouretum's output as it manages to combine a jangly psychedelic vibe (think Rain Parade/ Green on Red/ Dream Syndicate) which builds to a howling noisy crescendo.

Overall this is a successful first solo effort. It is similar enough to his band to take Arbouretum fans on board, and it is different enough to justify the billing under his own name. Another Side of Dave Heumann, maybe.

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