Cinder Well - Under the Radar

  by Keith How

published: 9 / 9 / 2020

Cinder Well - Under the Radar

'Under the Radar' uncovers a groundbreaking new album from one of the forerunners of the new underground roots music movement. Keith How finds Cinder Well’s 'No Summer' a lo-fi masterpiece, which is both reverential and beautiful.


It was a fair wind that carried Amelia Baker (Cinder Well) to the Emerald Isle and County Clare in search of traditional music, to tune into the magic of Ireland’s soul. Already a talented fiddle player, Baker soon connected with its musical heritage, joining hands with folk/punk outfit Lankum before settling in County Clare. In this context, the songs that make up the album ‘No Summer’ seem to take on a whole new life. Originally recorded in a converted church in Washington D.C., ‘No Summer’ is stripped back to the bare essentials, revealing a sense of otherworldliness. It reflects the pandemic isolation we find ourselves in and the mystical aura found in the landscape and nature. The sparse minimalism of Baker’s emotional vocal delivery flies in the face of today’s overproduced and cluttered music. The sense of spirituality and healing grace is both tender and beautiful. It’s as if Baker adopted the role of a travelling minstrel. Opener ‘Wandering Boy’ seems to echo from some distant mountain cabin, and the rest of the album continues in a similar vein, quietly and magically intoxicating the listener. ‘Old Enough’ is truly magnificent – Baker’s voice seems to come from another place, gentle and fragile. The song ends with an acapella, mantra-like chorus that is jaw-droppingly moving. The ending sequence ‘The Doorway’ and ‘From Behind the Curtain’ are truly moments of wonder. The themes that run through these compositions feel made for these times. Poetic lyrics charting isolation, uncertainty and strangeness, shrouded in banjo, guitar, viola and not much else. It makes ‘No Summer’ a richly rewarding listen.

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Cinder Well - Under the Radar

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