By Liv Ingram
Funeral Sky — the debut album from Calgary-based Reuben and the Dark — sees the indie-folk outfit explore “the duality of misery and joy.”
The album is produced by Florence + The Machine drummer Chris Hayden (who vocalist Reuben Bullock met serendipitously at a resort in Mexico) and Stephen Kozmeniuk.
The album incorporates chilling choir-like harmonies (“Shoulderblade”) and indie gospel sing-alongs (“Marionette”) to create an earnest album that is both poignant and sincere.
The record opens with delicate guitars and lush ambient soundscapes on “Bow and Arrow.” Bullock’s voice and the accompanying harmonies are arresting in their beauty.
The record reaches an explosive crescendo with “Rolling Stone,” before slowing down on “Standing Still,” where Bullock’s voice croons over a delicate piano. “Marionette” is a dark, gothic-gospel sing-along between Bullock and a haunting background chorus. The album explores love, loss and regret in tracks like “A Memory’s Lament” and “The River,” which are sombre without feeling contrived.
Moving effortlessly from ballads to hymns, this is an album of catharsis. Much like the firework display on the cover, Funeral Sky celebrates the dark for the beauty it holds. With their unique blend of bluegrass-tinged folk, Reuben and the Dark are going to be very big, very soon.