Cut against a wintery backdrop, Arborist’s single arrives showcasing a mournful tone and featuring the backing vocals of Kim Deal
pening with a defeated guitar line hidden behind a mournful violin, Twisted Arrow is a song out of season. With its frosty folk tones, it comes as little surprise to know that the Belfast-based songwriter Arborist wrote the track during 2014’s long, cold winter nights. What will surprise, though, is his backing vocalist, with Kim Deal adding her voice to Twisted Arrow.
Quite aside from her work with the Pixies, Deal is not here to bring bombast but to act as a crutch; the sense being that she’s helping to punctuate the words of a broken man, by playing the voice echoing in his head. Allied with Arborist’s own vocal, which sits somewhere between Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, the effect is heart sinking. A lashing of distortion only adds to the disharmony, before Twisted Arrow is seen out by the solemn violin with which it opened.
There’s little easy listening to be found the songwriting of Arborist, with bleakness and sorrow his modus operandi. That, of course, means simply that there is a time and a place for this song. In the moments where life seems to have peaked at an eternal hangover and even lifting your guitar feels too tough, Twisted Arrow will offer hope that you can turn that state of decay into a moment of inspiration.
Verdict: Dark and crushing folk