Apothecary Charms is truly a one-man-band experience, with Dave Halverson playing all the instruments (guitars, bass, drums, keys, and programming) as well as claiming engineering and production credits. The record is composed of 11 generally three- to four-minute instrumental tracks that take the listener on a journey through various styles and approaches.
The opening tracks, “A Quick Dance On a Shallow Grave” and “Scary Night,” are eerie ambient rockers, the latter piece evoking the horror soundtrack work of Italy's Goblin. "Song for the Chickens" has a country feel with an extended guitar intro. "K," "Postulus," and "Valotti" are sleek, funky numbers that feature unique guitar and synth sounds. Ambient synthscapes are featured on "The Agonist" and "Olivine," while the closer, "In Search Of," has an urban, jazzy vibe.
The focus here is almost completely on setting strong and distinct moods, with each piece sounding like the soundtrack to a short movie. Nevertheless, the album is well-paced and presents a unified, lighthearted, and enjoyable listening experience.
Issue #56, Winter/Spring 2009