In some ways it's a very strange LP, not afraid of doing anything; rather like having a schizophrenic clown in your living room.
Angels of Light – We Are Him
This is a cracker of an LP. A cracker, you hear me? Right from the menacing Black River Song, with its tumbling, bludgeoning bass line (sounding like some Gothic accompaniment to a Quadrille) through to the Gainsbourg-like lament of Star Chaser, you are gripped by the epic nature of the songs and their powerful arrangements.
Originally conceived as a further collaboration between Akron/Family and Gira, the project blossomed out to include talents such as Bill Rieflin, David Garland and Eszter Balint. No doubt due to the array of contributions there is an unhurried richness to the sound of this release. You do get the feeling that Michael Gira spent some time getting the sound just so. Nothing is left to chance, but to say that the LP is all technique and no emotion would be wrong. Rather, the latent emotions running through We Are Him are controlled like slaves rowing a galley. The Man We Left Behind has a great Neu! style guitar line which creates a fabulously tense atmosphere – albeit in an incredibly methodical manner - and allows a great pay-off with the basic song. Likewise the tinkling keyboard coda on Not Here/Not Now dovetails brilliantly with the sombre feel of the track.
The preacher-man qualities that Gira is great at projecting are noticeable in stuff like Promise of Water and the epic, basilisk-like My Brother's Man. Elsewhere we get an approximation of a gospel number on We Are Him (albeit a slightly menacing, hillbilly one) and one or two powerful laments, such as Sometimes I Dream of Hurting You. In some ways it's a very strange LP, not afraid of doing anything; rather like having a schizophrenic clown in your living room. Check out Sunflower's Here to Stay if you want to know precisely what I mean...
However; clown imagery aside; it's an incredibly rewarding listen. I'd check it out without further delay.
Words: Richard Foster