I half expect Sophia Loren to turn up at my door whilst this is playing, wearing a veil and saying “dahrlinkk, it iss ze vish off ze Emperor zat vee must go to Gaul”.
(Temporary Residence) http://www.konkurrent.nl
God, what a record, WHAT a record. There’s no point rabbiting on too much, you really need to give this a play. And anyway what can I really say about this? Not much - because there’s just too much to countenance, really. You get five monstrous, megalithic and supremely widescreen epics –all lasting about ten minutes, all full to bursting with more instrumentation than a Red Square-style parade of orchestras.
Like some arm rising from the lake to nab Excalibur, like Napoleon retreating from Moscow, For My Parents is Bathos on a scale that cannot be imagined. An open gift of love and affection (otherwise why the title), this is one of those power statements like Stonehenge that will take some fucking shifting, you get me, brother? The opener Legend – all 12 minutes of it - is just ridiculously, ridiculously good. It’s the theme tune to a blockbuster about Ancient Rome that got canned about 1965 – I half expect Sophia Loren to turn up at my door whilst this is playing, wearing a veil and saying “dahrlinkk, it iss ze vish off ze Emperor zat vee must go to Gaul”.
The point amidships when an e-bow signals a change in chord and tempo is just killer, watching the Elves depart from the Grey Havens, the death of the last polar bear cub, burying your pet… it’s far too much. Nostalgia is a gondola ride through Venice lit by a September sun, whereas Dream Odyssey is a sop-fest redolent of wearing that school uniform in September and seeing your precocious and delicate dreams smashed up by the communal ugliness of the classroom… argh! Unseen Harbor is beauty itself from the mellifluous opening strums to the piano-led procession through some high vaulted Imperial palace, it’s massive, unending… thing is, I’ve just gone and made a brew and come back and it’s still kicking out this opulent, grandiose sound, redolent of a Tchaikovsky symphony covered by Rhys Chatham’s mob or some such banal nonsense. Bloody heck. Last up, A Quiet Place, is just that, a riverside glade, a sunny hilltop, a sunset walk to the tap room in a country pub. It’s syrupy and it does build to a climax – how could it not? - but in a good way of course. And by this point you need these slumberous tones to bring you down from the emotional buffeting the record’s been meeting out. Phew…
These Japanese bands don’t let up, do they? They never stop milking an idea if there’s anything left to squeeze out of it. There’s no way any other band could pull this off without sounding like a bunch of self-opinionated conceited gits, and I don’t know why any other act ploughing this furrow bothers to be honest.