Edinburgh based The Douglas Firs have spent the last seven years working on Happy as a Windless Flag. Thankfully for the band it seems like this was time well spent, as the amount of work gone into the album-recorded in churches, bedrooms, sheds and local halls-ensures it has a perfectly complete sound.

The work favours organic instrumentation and pure sounds. The arrangements are lush and the album seems to blend seamlessly, at times it is difficult to tell where one song ends and the next begins. Undertaking themes such as the loss of youth, death and rebirth, it takes us on a glorious musical journey. The complex blend of genres and instrumentations may seem overindulgent and prove too much for some, but it is executed so perfectly that it is hard to feel anything other than pure joy.

'I Will Kill Again' starts us on our dreamlike journey with the tale of an unknown soldiers death accompanied by percussion and blissful male and female harmonies. 'The Quickening' is The Douglas Firs at their most adventurous with its mix of field recordings, choral harmonies, drums, guitars, fiddle, accordion, piano, gentle vocals and just about anything else you can think of. The blind optimism of youth is contemplated amidst the atmospheric and melancholic sounds. 'The Shadow Line' focused around the passage into adulthood is almost three tracks in one, as we go from one stage of sound to the next. 'Balance of Halves' is a nostalgic look at everything left behind in youth, its crunching guitars, picked harmonies, and gentle brass are tied together with layers of harmonious vocals. The album closer 'Soporific' is an acceptance of all that has passed before.

There is nothing here that is obviously a hit single, or standout track, but there is something truly wonderful about these songs. Happy as a Windless Flag is completely immersive, it is not very mainstream or easily accessible, but when it sounds this good, it really doesn't matter.

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