Have you ever ended up somewhere and suddenly become sharply aware of the expansive history hanging over the place like a shadow? It’s as though suddenly seeing, right there in front of you, centuries of comings and goings combined with the tragedies that have struck throughout the years. Looking at such events from a distance — whether they’re pulled from the ether and imagined as they were or they’re simply remembered as a set of firsthand experiences — can provide the whole endeavor with a startlingly surreal edge, like the turmoil was part of a dismal but grandiose theater performance in which our sprawling script has found us playing roles established long ago.
That’s the saying, right? “All the world’s a stage”… such remarks become overused cultural conversations for a reason. Returning that concept to its expansive beginnings — and placing it within the dirt and blood of the natural world — lays the foundation for Treacherous Autumnal Wisdom, the new, full-length album from the Tennessee dark folk project Devil’s Looking Glass, which officially releases on Nov. 19 via Moonlight Cypress Archetypes.
Get a first listen to the haunting album in full below! First, here’s a bit more about it:
Thanks to the hearty, earthy tones throughout Treacherous Autumnal Wisdom, there’s sometimes a truly unsettling sense of something like suddenly hearing a broadcast from a radio station that nobody’s heard from in over a century. It’s like a broken down device crackling on within an abandoned shed and suddenly playing increasingly ominous banjo tunes. The heads-held-high confidence of much of the music, though — even in its solemnity — makes you wonder which one has ended up out of place: you or the radio station. Perhaps the thought that we were ever in the 21st century at all — or at least that the status quo of that century could ever last in the long run — was the illusion…
Obviously, such isn’t quite the case (as far as we know…), but that’s the vibe here, and it’s quite a captivating jaunt.
Although certain folk and folk-adjacent music can end up feeling somewhat cheery, that’s not the direction that Devil’s Looking Glass head. Treacherous Autumnal Wisdom is emotionally stirring — like watching a forest become gradually more rustled by an otherworldly wind — but it’s not exactly triumphant, in the most traditional sense. Instead, the compositions often feel relatively starkly pared back, and the trek remains tense.
There’s a strength to it, though — the album focuses upon the soulfully expressed malaise within the instrumentals and the vocals, thereby reflecting an overcast but still present sense of beauty. The songs often prove energetic, so the whole journey seems underpinned by a subtly forceful push forward.
They’ve swept the “tales of woe” (as press material put it) that informed this record into a journey of discovery. We’re stuck within the tales, so why not walk right in?