Record Review - 1 May 29 2002

The Early Day Miners are hypnotists. Like a heartland Low, the Miner's stark Appalachian folk is deliberate and trance inducing. Let Us Garlands Bring's opening gambit, "Centralia," reads like an epitaph. It's skeleton-spare and dry as a mausoleum, its procession of arpeggios drowned out by weeping strings. On the sprawling eight-minute "Offshore," violins plead for sympathy against slow-crescendoing guitars and thunderclaps of percussion.

Daniel Burton's whispery vocals slip softly in and out of the arrangements, summoning images of fading seasons and ruined billboards. While any number of bands can claim to be sad, the Early Day Miners manage to actually capture the feeling of sadness — the sort of bleak, gray, rainy sorrow that pours concrete on the limbs, silences the urge to speak and renders all acts empty pointless gestures.

It's as if Let Us Garlands Bring was intended as a cover of the Cure's Disintegration — but instead of mimicking the notes, the Early Day Miners replicate the awful feeling of barrenness and grief without bottom. Even the major-key "Autumn Wake" sounds heavy with remorse, its high violin the perfect embodiment of wistfulness and nostalgia.

Ultimately, Let Us Garlands Bring is astonishing not for its songcraft, but for its stunning evocation of the color and shape of sorrow.??