Baltimore’s Arbouretum released their fifth album, Coming Out of the Fog, in early 2013, and after a year of touring in support of it, announced in 2014 that they were going on “indefinite hiatus” while members pursued other projects. For many bands, that’s a death knell, one from which they never return, but fans didn’t need to worry. Frontman Dave Heumann released his first solo album, Here in the Deep, last year, a record that was very obviously his work while still exploring new directions. Meanwhile, the band returned tentatively, playing a couple of local Baltimore festivals in 2015. This year, however, the band announced a full return, with a show at the Metro Gallery and a new album in the process of being recorded.
While Arbouretum has had several line-up changes over the years, the group returning from hiatus was the same as the one which recorded the previous two albums – in addition to Heumann, it included Corey Allender on bass, Brian Carey on drums, and Matthew Pierce on keyboards. Those who attended the band’s first club show since 2013 were in for a surprise, as they took the show as an opportunity to try out several of the new songs in the live setting. The band played four new songs in their nine-song setlist – “Song of the Rose,” “Call Upon the Fire,” “Dirt Trails,” and “Headwaters II” – and they were all classic Arbouretum songs. They also took a tour of the back catalog, with “Tonight’s a Jewel” from 2007’s Rites of Uncovering, “The White Bird” from 2011’s The Gathering, and “Oceans Don’t Sing” and “World Split Open” from Coming Out of the Fog. The band also played one track from Heumann’s solo album, “Ends of the Earth.”
The band is currently planning to have the new record ready for release in early 2017. If this show was any indication, it’s one to look forward to.
The show was opened by Philly instrumental jam rockers Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, and by Baltimore shoegazers Plow.