magneticnorth

There are two types of scare – the sudden heart-stopping fright that comes with a slasher movie and the still eeriness of something far more real: the supernatural. This debut album by The Magnetic North is the second type, and more lasting for it; unsettlingly and beautifully calm at the same time. It’s hardly surprising for a band that only exist because a ghost told them to, visiting Erland Cooper of Erland & the Carnival in a dream to tell him to return to his homeland of Orkney and make a record.

She (Betty Corrigall, a local in the 1770s until she killed herself) even gave him a list of track names. With Carnival bandmate Simon Tong and orchestral arranger Hannah Peel, the three headed far north to create what feels like a folk score to a forgotten Hitchcock film, set in the middle of nowhere, complete with fingers rapping on the windowpane (on ‘The Black Craig’) and Wickerman devilish chants (‘Orphir’). It’s frightening, oddly seductive and often quite brilliant.

By Danny Canter