The Accident That Led Me To The World
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The Accident That Led Me To The World

Webster, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Webster, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Acoustic

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Remember all of those theories that said our attention spans were getting shorter and maybe consequently as if to disprove this notion we are assailed with records that go on well past their point and films that are so bloated and yet so empty they make you feel guilty for having sat through them. Thank heavens then for brevity for here we have 12 songs in a scant 26 minutes. And they are simple too, from the dark folk palette, there are voices, banjo, guitar, bass and occasional additional strings and clarinet. Even simpler are the structures, no verses or choruses to speak of; they make their point and have the sense to stop. Still all of this could be inconsequential and annoying if it wasn’t done with genuine talent and some panache. These songs are beautiful miniatures, each one capturing something elemental and essential, and each one simple but detailed and fully realised with a few words and the simple instruments. There is something universal and timeless about them - they sometimes sound like a chamber version of Califone and though seemingly polite, there are dark undercurrents. ‘All My Ghosts’ is a deep black hymnal and in common with other songs has water running through it... you can imagine this bunch as reluctant pirates flying a black flag. The songs often creak like a wooden sailing ship making its way through the waves and songs like ‘Below’ have a definite sea shanty quality - with the cello sawing away like rough timbers rubbing together and with the clarinet fluttering in the breeze like a standard the nautical theme is complete. Each one of the songs stands on its own and if you add together the impact of a dozen of these vignettes it all adds up to excellence. - Americana UK


"The Accident That Led Me To The World is the product of Mark Mandeville's fertile imagination and formidable songwriting talents. Like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Decemberists before him, Mandeville is able to craft a reality of his own through deceptively simple songs rich in subtlety and nuance. He achieves his powerful results largely through the interplay of rhythmic fingerpicking, upright bass, and tasteful cello and violin accents. Multi-instrumentalist Raianne Richards' haunting vocals provide the final element, her melodies intertwining with Mandeville's and lifting the entire thing to new heights.

The striking cover art features a charcoal sketch of a man in a canoe, heading towards an empty sea. Many of Mandeville's poetic lyrics contain seafaring references. "The wind blew my whole house down / I rode the scattered wood out to the sea / Believe me the movement of the waves will make you dizzy / In the dark by the stars I'm truly guided." It emphasizes the sea-chantey feel of the music. Mandeville's wistful vocal style is at times very reminiscent of a more restrained Colin Meloy.

The album maintains a cohesive whole while Mandeville and company manage to cover quite a bit of stylistic territory. "All My Ghosts" prominently features banjo in a context that recalls the Pogues, complete with a barroom sing-along ending. "Below" relies largely on bowed strings and clarinet, though Mandeville contributes some swift fingerpicking as well.

Only a handful of the 12 tracks eclipse the two-minute mark, a testament to Mandeville's ability to get his point across with an economy of words and a limited musical palette. Jerry Fels' production is sparse, yet crystal clear, allowing the smallest detail of each musician's playing to come through. Discovering this DIY gem would certainly qualify as a lucky accident." - Northeast Performer


A couple of my favorite indie artists get together and carve themselves one fine alabaster of an album. Recorded by Jerry Fels, Mark Mandeville’s “The Accident that Led Me to the World” is a bit of bluegrass and turn of the century folk blended with careful song-smithing that’s destined to be looked upon as a future piece of art to be encapsulated in a time capsule capturing music from this decade. Raianne Richards lends her beautiful siren voice and Zack Ciras offers his aptitude at bass and strings. This collective of musical minds and their magical unity is something that could be felt a galaxy away—these songs may be quiet and almost unassuming but they’re majestic and gigantic in breadth and shake your soul at its very core. This is special folks, be sure you pick it up. - Smother.net


So many pretty little folk songs (twelve), so little time (26 minutes)... Mark Mandeville and co. really know how to spark my interest. This has a strong Decemberists vibe (right down to Mandeville's Meloy-esque vocals), though it's sparser and more abstract from a compositional sense. There is also lots of vocal assistance from angelic Raianne Richards, which lends the album another layer of excellence (especially in the boy/girl harmonies.) With the rhythm being handled mostly by the bass (who needs percussion?), this record has a delicate feel to it. Mandeville's frequent excursions into banjo territory also add an unpredictable element that doesn't take much time to warm up to. Carefully picked acoustic guitar and strings round out the experience, with a clarinet on "Watermark*" for good measure. Personal favourites include instant hit "Tell Me Something," passionate "Care (Human Nature)," and highlight "All My Ghosts" with its nine-voice climax. I prefer the less stringsy and more guitar/banjo based songs, but that's probably just because I was unwillingly dragged to the symphony so much when I was younger.

As it stands, The Accident That Led Me To The World have done well to focus this album on a particular sound, and I'm really hoping they've got more stuff planned for the future. This is one of the prettiest records I've reviewed in quite some time, and yet its emotional and compositional depth lend it a power that delves far past the purely aesthetic. Listen to this record to be entertained and moved. - Indieville


Hailing from Massachusetts The Accident That Led Me To The World (yes, I know) are a strictly acoustic three-piece who are happy swimming in the folk/old-time tradition without ever threatening to drown in its merciless waters. Our own Mr Cowling reviewed this band’s last record – 2005s self-titled effort – and was taken by the simplicity of the songs, “beautiful miniatures, each one capturing something elemental and essential.” Well, two years later and not a great deal has changed thankfully. The Island Gospel is equally short as the first record but no less appealing. There are moments, whilst listening to the fragile masterpiece that is “Nervous Hands,” that you become so in tune with the record, so absorbed that you basically hanging on every last strum or hushed vocal utterance that you wonder what else this band might be capable of in the future. For reference points think a bleak, windswept Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings or indeed a stripped down Whiskeytown. In Mark Mandeville, Raianne Richards, and Zack Ciras we have a trio of like-minded souls for whom less is more and the importance of mood and environment is every bit as essential as the songs themselves. There are many albums of this nature released these days but very few will have the impact of The Island Gospel. These guys truly are the real deal and once they have caught you in their fragile web of guitars, banjos, and clarinets there is no mistake. An unexpected gem (and that was before I had read David’s review of the last record). I should have known really. - Americana UK (2008)


Though few in number, The Accident That Led Me To The World is big in sound - Worcester Telegram & Gazette


You know, I don’t really have all that much of a penchant for the really nitty-gritty Americana stuff. I usually listen to hardcore folkies and rootys country artists and compare them to the oodles of acts that they are endlessly emulating. And man, it’s gotta be hard to do those genres. Try something new in folk music and all of a sudden you’ve branded yourself “antifolk”. Or even worse? Freak folk. :::shudder:::

That’s why a group like The Accident That Led Me To The World is so damn enjoyable for me. Not only is it music made by and for true-blue “walk-it-like-they-talk it” country folk musicians, but the songs are just absolutely stunning. And the fact that the tunes are so good really is more important than you think. A lot of folk/country artists nowadays are so content to write the *sound* of the genre - or worse, simply relying on renditions of the classic songs that influenced them in the first place - that they almost totally forgo the idea of understanding the fundamental mechanics of songwriting. Take the nineties country phenoms Freakwater, for example. I like those gals as much as the next guy, and some of their reinterpretations of classic country tunes were really sweet. (Anyone that has ever heard their breathtaking reading of “You’ve Never Been This Far Before” would have a hard time arguing against that). But seriously… if you can’t give me a damn memorable song, you’re doing nothing but invading the dangerous “side project” territory that so many of these groups tend to end up as.

Basically, not enough indie bands today take the time to get folk and country songwriting right, but that ain’t the case with The Accident That Led Me To The World, who we’ll be referring to as TATLMTTW from here on out. Their newest album, The Island Gospel, comes across on first listen as a simple easy breezy half hour of mellow folk leanings. Further review reveals some truly haunting melodies, (seriously, don’t listen to “Caves” right before bed), wonderful boy/girl vocal interplay… and not a damned bit of percussion in sight. The instrumentaion stays stripped to the bare essentials: guitar, upright bass, banjo… and occasionally some clarinet for color.

The Island Gospel is record that should be getting more attention than it already is. It’s not only full of ten phenomenal songs by a band that has their identity perfectly realized, and it’s not just wonderful for late night mood listens… it’s just good in general. So good that I wish that I didn’t have to go on a tangent about genres in the beginning of this review. Don’t be scared away by your ideas of the 2008 model of “folk” or “alt-country”. Instead, try out TATLMTTW as their own thing and be rewarded with the rich sparseness of The Island Gospel. - RetroLowFi


"The island gospel" is the second full length for this Massachusetts based trio consisting of 2 guys and a girl who go by the name 'The accident that led me to the world'. It's a collection of 10 acoustic treasures on the border of folk and americana. The basic setup consists of 2 guitars and an upright bass. And not to forget, the dual male/female vocal combination which works really well. That and the occasional use of a banjo and clarinet is more than enough to create these wonderful and honest personal stories. Aparently they've spent eight months to record this album, but it really doesn't show production wise. What i mean is, that it's not overproduced like you would expect when you hear a fact like thit. And thank god for that. Because this kind of music should be pure, from band to person with not a lot of unnecessary engineering between the two. It only has to sound just right. And that's what this album does. My personal faves include 'Try try try' and the amazing 'Caves'. This last one is the odd one in the bunch being more up tempo, but my, what a song..
"The island gospel" would be a nice addition to anyone's collection if you're into the genre, or if you just need a fresh break and relax. - Mashnote.net


Discography

"the accident that led me to the world" (2006)
Released on Nobody's Favorite Records

"The Island Gospel" (2008)
Released on Nobody's Favorite Records

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Bio

The Accident That Led Me To The World is an all-acoustic, non-percussive chamber folk trio from Massachusetts. The name was derived from a song that band member Mark Mandeville (guitar, banjo, vocals) wrote called "The Accident That Led Me To The World," which he then elaborated into the concept of an allegorical narrative involving a boy who sails away to an island to be alone. From this concept sprung an entire album's worth of songs, and Mandeville incorporated Raianne Richards (guitar, clarinet, vocals) and Zack Ciras (upright bass) to flesh out the material.

The result was the eponymous 2006 debut released on Nobody's Favorite Records, an angular, concise mixture of bluegrass picking, sea chantey sing-a-longs, and folk singer-songwriting. This release was followed by 2008's The Island Gospel, more expansive, more focused, and more lyrical than its predecessor, and which also travels a more country-driven direction. The Island Gospel also continues the allegorical narrative concept that was begun on the first album, and both albums feature artwork which illustrates the narrative.