pelanderIf you are unfamiliar with Pelander, that’s nothing to be worried about, seeing as it is the first release by Magnus Pelander, Witchcraft mainstay, under his own moniker, and a definite change from his normal doom tinged heavy rock releases.

Hearkening back to an era of the sixties hippy folk singer, ‘Time’ is an album that on first listen could be considered simple and stripped back, but is in fact subtly layered with a fair old number of acoustic instruments to back up the plaintive vocals and guitar of Magnus, but elements that are not so intrusive as to mean the whole album couldn’t be performed by the one man and his six string companion. ‘Umbrella’ has the addition of ethereal female harmonies and a string section that could easily be composed of bizarre medieval instruments threading throughout the number, , and even a short electrified guitar solo that doesn’t jar with the carefully nurtured atmosphere of pastoral tranquillity, whilst ‘Family Song’ has an almost country sound in terms of the guitar flourishes, however it remains firmly rooted in the folk origins of that genre without straying anywhere near the gaudy rhinestone monstrosity that is so much of modern Country and Western.

Darkness prevails in ‘The Irony of Man’, where a mournful violin helps to reinforce the melancholy feeling of the track, and it would be easy to imagine the desert dry gravel tones of Johnny Cash singing the number rather than Magnus Pelander’s own warbling voice, such is the invocation of a Western dust bowl in its stark story. ‘True Colour’ follows and a more psychedelic sound sets in, both in terms of the material and the warbling, almost delicate vocal delivery, and it would be all too easy to imagine this is in fact a long lost and happily rediscovered Donovan number, a feeling reinforced by ‘Precious Swan’ the middle of the track filled by a menacing Prog sound that surely owes more than a passing nod of influence to the orchestral experimentation of The Beatles during their most self-indulgent and creative heights.

Closing the album (at least on my download review version, although I believe an additional track ‘Rebecka’ is available on some formats) is the title track ‘Time’, a song that encapsulates the entire mellow vibe of the album distilled into four minutes of tranquil stillness, a track that should surely close out a live set should Mr Pelander ever tour this album. Even if it remains something that is only played at home, whether on its own, or as an accompaniment to some other form of relaxation, it is a beautiful peace of work that will truly help to refresh a jaded spirit.

‘Time’ is a far cry from the normal sound of Witchcraft, and for that matter, a far cry from the normal releases of Nuclear Blast, and both artist and label are to be commended. If this is a direction Magnus Pelander continues to develop, he will surely come to stand shoulder to shoulder with such modern troubadours as Conny Ochs or Wino, as well as paying respectful homage to the many who came before them over the years.

(8/10 Spenny)