6 Feb 2017

The Driftwood Manor - For The Moon

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

Following the single ‘Fraction of a Wolf’ (reviewed here at The Active Listener alongside an interview with Driftwood main man Eddie Keenan) comes The Driftwood Manor’s fourth album proper ‘For The Moon’, an intense yet nuanced collection of dark folktales and eclectic and rich instrumentation that adds yet another solid jewel to the treasure vault that is this band’s (highly recommended) back catalogue. The Driftwood Manor have never been afraid of creating a coherent yet eclectic approach to their song craft and, pulling on various musical strands that include psychedelia, Americana as well as traditional folk, ‘For The Moon’ proves to be a layered and lasting piece of work with a wealth of jewels and diamonds to discovered therein.

The album opens with the beautiful, pensive ’Fraction of a Wolf', Keenan's voice heartfelt and soaring over the most melancholy of fiddles; this already feels like an old friend and a classic Manor song. 'Spring' follows, opening acapella style and reminiscent of the most heartrending and affecting of Bonnie Prince Billy songs, before banjo and bass pick out a creeping, processionary melody that raises the hairs on your arms as much it also aches the soul. This is The Driftwood Manor’s gift and subtle magic; they can create something that chills and affects in equal manner, something hugely melodic that still has an uncompromising edge and tension. The growing collection of chanted voices becomes almost hymnal or devotional as the track layers, ever ascending. Next 'When Wisdom Was Lowered from Heaven' finds a more reflective space to share its gentle sing-song melody and delicate fingerpicking, cello flanking Keenan as he recounts so intimately that it feels like he is in the room with you. It’s a heart stopping moment of sheer beauty, one of many on this album. 'Fire And Brimstone’ follows, a country tinged, widescreen treasure, violin weaving in and out of the backdrop of slide guitar and Keenan's plaintive voice. 'For The Moon' keeps hold of the hint of country music for a dark barn dance of a song with a black hearted refrain of 'time took away everything…'

'The Secret People' utilises what sounds not unlike throat singing and banjo to create something that feels both sacred and ancient, sounding as though it is coming out of the earth itself. It is testament to Keenan's mastery of his craft that he can sit such varied approaches together and yet they follow seamlessly, each unmistakingly a Driftwood Manor track. 'The Fox and the Bear' follows, a ghost story of a song, ably and hypnotically recounted by Keenan with a beautifully wrought violin and guitar backing that leaves the listener breathless. The album comes to a close with two of Keenan's finest ballads to date, the affecting, sepia tinted and timeless 'The River Changing' and the apocalyptic 'I Have Become The Waves' in which Keenan sounds truly wracked and weary, a genuinely spellbinding performance and fitting finale to this highly recommended album. A strong contender for one of the albums of the year and another gem in the embarrassment of riches that is the Driftwood Manor's back catalogue

Available now on CD and as a download at Folkwit Record’s Bandcamp and website. However, once you have investigated this release, do delve further into The Driftwood Manor’s other albums, you will not be disappointed.


  1. First off, let me say this is the most amazing blog I have encountered in a decade. I have been enjoying the Active Listener samplers on Bandcamp and have purchased over 50 albums based on what I heard.

    It is such a joy to find a place that celebrates psych folk, acid folk, etc and all it's off shots...it makes me feel I am not alone in my obsession. Your reviews are amazingly informative and your descriptors are spot on when compared with the samples.

    This is work of the highest order. Bandcamp links, Soundcloud links, videos, etc. Just superb.

    I have already purchased 25 albums since going through your 2016 posts.

    I also purchased the entire Hare & The Moon discography. Thank you for that.

    I think it is great for fans when you can purchase all releases for one price. I'm an OCD
    completist and it just works for me!!!

    I beg you, keep up the great work. God knows we need a distraction from horrific events of last year.

    The Vinyl Heathen (Andre) San Diego, CA USA.

    1. Thanks Andre - glad you've found plenty to enjoy and thanks for supporting these artists by buying their albums.

    2. The thanks go to you. I'm just getting started. I may need to take out a loan!

      Bandcamp is the present, and future. Currently going over the insanely delish Top Psychedelic albums lists.

  2. Ok, on to 2015 posts....

  3. BTW...this Driftwood Manor album is just sublime. A work of the highest order.