Backworld – All That Remains

Steadily Backworld is creating a solid catalogue, with a handful of albums and a couple of singles. In the past Backworld was released by World Serpent, now Eis & Licht has offered them a home for this new EP. Recently Joseph Budenholzer, the only permanent member of Backworld, moved from New York to Glasgow. There he found new musicians to play with, and with whom he already did a number of performances.

Some of the material on `All that remains` was created during older recording sessions (The 2003 `Seeds of Love` EP) with Julia Kent and Todd Cohen from Antony and the Johnsons amongst others. There are also three newer songs present, recently recorded in Scotland featuring Highland violinist Anissa Tonberg. On the cover of this new Backworld record we see Joseph looking quite sad, standing with an umbrella in front of an old gothic mansion. Hasn’t he grown accustomed to the Scottish weather yet? It’s probably a reference to the lovely and sad title track: ‘all that remains… is the rain.’

If you’re familiar with previous Backworld releases you will certainly enjoy this one, since it contains some typical and strong material. Melancholic, poppy folk songs, subtle and intimate, with overtones from gospel and other traditional American music. The usual spiritual themes are present: sin and redemption, love and joy, predators and victims. The excellent violin sounds of Tonbert really enhance the mood. `All that remains` contains pleasant listening music for Sunday afternoons. If you prefer bombastic martial dark folk you should look somewhere else, this is timeless traditional folk music, brought back to its essence.

Be careful when you play this one-sided 12 inch record: all songs can be found one one side, the other side will only ruin your needle. A maxi cd version is also in the making.

In the past Backworld surprised me with some beautiful, melancholic and romantic folkpop songs. The sound of Backworld has references to 60’s and 70’s (English) folk music, but on the other hand the sound also fits in well with a contemporary folk pop act like Belle and Sebastian.

All That Remains is very much a neo 60’s/70’s folk record. Opening track ‘Ordinary Man’ is like a Bob Dylan track, only somewhat darker. Also the rest of the songs sound like music by musicians like Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake.

It is only too bad that only on one side of this vinyl there is music (the B-side is empty). I always wish for more songs after listening to Backworld…

artist: Backworld
label: Eis & Licht
details: 12", 5 tracks [Eis042]