SEE: The video for Cheval Sombre’s ‘Curtain Grove’: a thrilling, delicate highlight from his new album; a song of the year?

Chris Porpora, aka Cheval Sombre, photographed by Luz Gallardo

WE’RE a way towards the release of Chris Porpora, aka Cheval Sombre’s, first album in eight years, Time Waits For No One; brighter days to come, seasonally and musically, for sure, come February 26th.

It seems serendipitous that, with the ‘rona and the lockdown and all, the globe has wound down to Cheval Sombre’s pace just as he enters his most productive phase – he’s set to release two albums through the offices of Sonic Cathedral this year. There’s a harmony of pacing; we await.

“I’d been working on something, well, vast,” he revealed at the time of the first single drop, “It’s Not Time”, also the lead track here, at the back end of last year.

“Earlier [last] year I asked Sonic Cathedral if they’d be up for an audacious release – shooting for the stars, as they say.”

Today’s he’s dropped one of the absolute highlights of that record, “Curtain Grove”. You can watch the video below.

“‘Curtain Grove’ grew out of a strangely productive, fragile month,” says Chris of the song’s genesis. 

“I was down with pneumonia but there was a piano in the house on which all kinds of melodies came to me during those silent afternoons, when everything was still.

“I then had to translate all [of those] to guitar, which took some patience and learning. But after this, it was astonishing – Gillian Rivers brought sweeping, orchestral strings, Pete [Kember] got hold and laced it with elegant melody, Britta [Phillips, of The Belltower and Luna] whispered these elusive, lovely backing vocals.

“‘Curtain Grove’ reminds me that much beauty can still come together despite difficult days. Innerstrings’ stirring video gracefully handles the play between darkness and light that we each of us inevitably encounter – in which wonder ultimately prevails.”

“Curtain Grove” has a country swing, a singing sweetness, and you could have no complaints were it to remain so; “Time goes by in a curtain grove / And time it will stand still,” hushes Chris.

And it swells with strings, playing on some plane of resonance and poise which simple flesh and blood rarely glimpses; when they reaffirm with a quick approach a few bars along, they’re jaw-dropping in a way say, Bill Fay’s “Cannons Plain” might be, were it covered by Broadcast. One of the songs of the year, already. Plain as day.

Like the album (read our review on the morning of the 18th) it’s an amulet, a perfect prescription; you can use it to ward off the world. Really, do.

Cheval Sombre’s Time Waits For No One will be released by Sonic Cathedral on digital download, CD and vinyl on February 26th; you can pre-order your copy from Sonic Cathedral direct, from Rough Trade, and from Norman Records.

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