THE ROVING MAGPIE – Seven Sad Songs | Aristocrazia Webzine


Band: The Roving Magpie
Title:  Seven Sad Songs
Year: 2014
Country:   Italy
Label: Pest Productions

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  1. The Kite
  2. The Lake
  3. The Rime Of The Drunken Rock
  4. Loneliness
  5. Weeping Wilow
  6. The Lost Song
  7. Thulean Chant

Our journey through the Owltree series — the latest addition in Pest Productions' offer — continues, this time with something closer to neofolk, compared to Dementia Ad Vitam's dark folk. "Seven Sad Songs" is the debut mini album by The Roving Magpie, yet another side project by the mastermind of Blaze Of Sorrow and Vollmond (here credited as Peter the Oystercatcher).

This interesting Italian act seems to be rooted in nineteenth century aesthetics, as shown by the remake of the famous painting "L'Absinthe" by Edgar Degas (1876) on the cover. In this version, we can also see a huge magpie sitting at the table close to that of the two original characters, seemingly brooding in its little dark corner.

As the title reads, the mini is composed of seven sad songs, and the average quality is really high. The fascination that the black metal scene has towards the more intimate suggestions and the drunken reflections allowed by neofolk is nothing new anymore, but it is always intriguing to discover how different projects explore these areas. If I had to make comparisons to other Italian bands, I would say that this work has somewhat reminded me of the alcoholic eroticism of Spiritual Front ("The Rime Of The Drunken Rock") and the soberer taste of Argine (especially in "The Last Song"). None of the seven tracks is particularly long, and they are all quite varied in terms of structure. The closing "Thulean Chant" has even reminded me of Agalloch's acoustic moments, that Peter employed here effectively. "Seven Sad Songs" is a mini without frills, that clearly states what it is about from the start, going on to brilliantly develop its contents in less than thirty minutes.

The digipak's design is really simple and is thematically coherent, with a skeleton holding an accordion inside a casket in one of the inner parts of the package. As hinted by the drawing on the back, the roving magpie carries its bottle of wine around and shares its sad reflections on existence, stopping as it pleases, just like a good side project should do.