Bishopskin and religious iconography are like bread and butter. Not only is it in their band name, song names, and running through their lyricism like a golden thread, but it is in their live performances, which feel like a spiritual awakening for both band and audience. Their new single, “Ave Maria,” is no different. Another postmodern indie rock canticle added to their discography that I’m sure is to be just as well received as their previous releases.
Tiger Nicholson, lead vocalist, opens the tune with a sombre prayer-like monologue, describing the tangibility and mysticism of his natural surroundings, partnered with an angelic chant and clapping sequence reminiscent of simpler times. Almost tribal, it is backed by the cyclical moan of a saxophone, artfully played by Jed Holloway, the saxophonist of the eight-piece collective. Telling the story of visions of Jerusalem and Mary on the English moorland, the passion of the song close-to-physically transports you to the hillside with “old man England” conjuring your own images of the Virgin Mary among the “bracken.” The relatively historical element of the song is something that Bishopskin have carefully incorporated into their music, finding a niche that they so beautifully fill.
The bursts of harsh raspy bass vocals of Nicholson’s exclamations of “Ave Maria!” and “feather” combined with a sharp, cleverly uncoordinated-yet-ethereal violin juxtapose the elegant choral singing of “Maria” in a way that I would argue perfectly represents how incredible and terrifying it must be to have these godly visions actually appear before you.
Released on October 1st by Isolar Records, “Ave Maria” is a song I am certain you will fall in love with. Follow Bishopskin on Instagram at @bishopskin