Big Block 454 – Bells and Proclamations

Don’t be put off by my jocular tone in this review; this is a great LP, it’s just a bit nuts: very much in the style of fellow Northern pranksters The Witch and the Robot or Ceramic Hobs.


http://bigblock454.bandcamp.com


Them Lancashire eccentrics and Gnostic visionaries unleash another winding LP on a musical community who sadly should be taking a lot more notice. Bells and Proclamations is full of byways spattered with obtuse references, underground lore and Eno-esque pop: the opener Pyjamageddon is a strange, stop-start chant that tips its titfer to said Brian and others such as Cope, (it does sound like a track off one of the Archdrude’s Rite LPs, albeit the Sylvan element might be more Cold Comfort Farm than Avebury).


And following that, Blind Jack of Knaresborough doesn’t seem to have much to do with the legendary Yorkshire road maker, (the only “John” clearly mentioned in this track is Mr. Cale), but I’m not that bothered, as the melody bumbles along very pleasantly. It sounds like some very drugged children’s song. Especially when they mention Valerie Singleton.  Elsewhere with Yockenthwaite and Metal Trees, we have daft approximations of the 1970s Pastoral Movement (think Traffic, think The Wicker Man).  The Cloud of Unknowing gets even further down the hippy trail with an organ heavy meditation, one which just reeks of patchouli oil & Amon Düül 1… 


Don’t be put off by my jocular tone in this review; this is a great LP, it’s just a bit nuts: very much in the style of fellow Northern pranksters The Witch and the Robot or Ceramic Hobs. It does have some cracking tracks; The Modern Architectrave being a particularly good mellow pop song built on a chugging beat and blessed with some airy synths. And Kirton In the Rain is a growling, low-grade dance track that gets slightly elegiac at points. There are some very effective quieter moments too: Long Shore Drift and the marvellous dreamy couplet of Rubber Road and Crossing the Bay are well worth your time.  Everything ends on the gloriously affirmative The Sun Unconquered which combines drowsy pagan imagery and a very nice guitar part.


Great stuff, top band.