When mentioning neo-folk as a genre, Spain isn’t the first place that springs to mind, with the words usually conjuring up Boreal images touching on stereotypical northern European aesthetics. Enter Sangre de Muerdago, the enigmatic ensemble rooted in the lush mountains of northwestern Spain. Spearheaded by Pablo C. Ursusson, the group unveils this latest musical odyssey with O Vento Que Lambe as Miñas Feridas – “The Wind that Licks My Wounds.” While not an entirely unfamiliar journey for those acquainted with the band’s earlier works, this album stands as another chapter in Sangre de Muerdago’s unwavering commitment to songcraft.
“Wo Sich Fuchs und Hase Gute Nacht Sagen” opens the album with a lilting style that lives up to the clandestine mystery conveyed in the title, which translates as “Where the Fox and the Hare Meet at Night,” a German idiom akin to “the middle of nowhere.” The updated version of “Adeus Meus Amigos” from the 2011 debut is a masterclass in revisiting material, bringing a more somber tonality and serving as wonderful testament to the band’s evolution over the last decade. One of the standout tracks is “Eu Chorei, Chorei,” a traditional Galician folk song where the instrumentation and technical proficiency of the band absolutely shines – Ursusson’s command of the hurdy-gurdy is nothing short of exemplary, especially when joined by the reeds.
An album of fantastic depths, O Vento Que Lambe as Miñas Feridas is saturnine but vast. It may not be a magnum opus, but it’s a delightful excursion that explores the nuances of human emotion without feeling exaggerated or heavy-handed.