Erland Cooper and Simon Tong of Erland And The Carnival unite with Hannah Peel on this beautiful Orkney concept album.
The Magnetic North is a collective comprised of Erland And The Carnival’s songwriter Erland Cooper and multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong, who are joined by Irish singer songwriter Hannah Peel. The title of their debut release is inspired by a book entitled Orkney: The Magnetic North and takes Cooper’s homeland of the Orkney Islands as its concept.
The music is a soaring triumph of beautiful melodies, aching orchestral moments and touching vocals, leaving the listener feeling as though they are a delicate mist, hanging over the Orkneys and gliding over their Neolithic grasslands. Throughout, one can hear resemblance to Hannah Peel’s elegant folk and Erland And The Carnivals’ ever-so-slightly-sinister Belle & Sebastian-esque indie. Unlike the band members’ day jobs, however, this record feels more focused on taking you on a journey than on highlighting individual songs.
Crucially, Orkney… has an identity all of its own, suggesting that The Magnetic North will be more than a mere side project, as they harness the concept of Orkney with consummate ease.
Verdict: A tender and delicate musical adaptation of the Neolithic wonder of Orkney.
Out now on Full Time Hobby.