It’s a chilling story, that of a woman prematurely buried, presumed dead until awoken by a grave robber attempting to amputate her finger to make off with her valuable ring. Often attributed to early 18th century Lurgan woman Margorie McCall, her grave, pictured on the cover of this EP, does indeed state “lived once, buried twice” – though the existence of countless versions of this tale all over Europe, attributed to various different women from anywhere as early as the 14th century, does sow doubt on its veracity. Nonetheless it remains an infamous piece of local folklore, and Belfast’s finest ‘drone pop’ septet Documenta have taken a break from their album trilogy to set the story to music for this EP on the ever reliable Touch Sensitive label.
Will Carruthers of Spacemen 3 and early Spiritualized fame drops by to add narration to the opening and closing chapters of the story, while the rest is told through the vocals of Roisin Stewart and Joe Greene respectively on the EP’s two most fully formed tracks, ‘The Blue Sleep’ and ‘Jack Morbus’ – the latter of which eerily recalls the feeling of hanging around a cold and windy graveyard in the dead of night. The five tracks bleed together to form one coherent 18 minute suite of hazy shoegazing psych, the swells of four reverb-soaked guitars bringing to mind not only their usual touchstones like Slowdive and the aforementioned Spacemen 3, but also elements of Mogwai’s sinister Atomic soundtrack.
Greene, the band’s ringleader, has expressed his commitment to the idea of making three albums and then quitting while they’re ahead. They may already be two thirds of their way through that goal, but their recent side forays into the realms of live soundtracking and now this narrative EP prove that, like the titular lady with the ring, there’s a lot of life left in Documenta yet. Cathal McBride