Luckily we don’t get into that minor chord work out that all too often makes records like this seem academic or worthy.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Three long and intense tracks – encased in a sumptuous package, replete with DVD (showing a Super 8 film), beautiful artwork and a ridiculous press release; though you may be spared that… I do wish press people would stop saying this kind of music is pushing the boundaries or doing something never been done before because it isn’t - this is a classic prog-psychedelic rock – in the manner of Amon Düül 2’s epic trips outs on Carnival in Babylon or Yeti. Those less cognisant with such 70’s references could point to the softer side of Explosions in the Sky or 65DOS.
The opener, As True as Troilus, is a long and trippy piece, at points slightly menacing and icy, at others drawing ever so slightly on the “rock singer as breathless poet” vibe that Jim Morrison and Patti Smith patented. The lyrics are, in the main, streams of consciousness welded onto a story of sorts (Troilus & Cressida if you were wondering). A small sample should give you a flavour of what to expect; “Their hearts pregnant like salmon with millions of tiny hopes”... so you can glean that this is a track looking to make you think and feel rather than reason... Attempts at lit-crit aside - As True as Troilus can also be a demanding listen at first, simply because you find yourself waiting – however cynically -for some hoary, clunky old chord progression to start laying down the law. But the arrangements are often beautiful and tastefully reserved, allowing the vocals plenty of room –the piece is more concerned with atmospherics than being too clever and that’s a blessing. Luckily we don’t get into that minor chord work out that all too often makes records like this seem academic or worthy. There’s the usual squall of noise at the end, but that’s fine, what else do you expect? And after a few listens it’s easy enough to enjoy it for the gargantuan mood piece that it is.
After that the intensity lessens; the second track, All in the Full Indomitable Light of Hope – is split into two segments, the first is a soliloquy with sparse backing (cello, electronic noises) whilst the second is a slow moving but harmonious and elegant instrumental piece, one which is curtailed very neatly by a short vocal snippet. Last up is the ghostly In Dreams Airlifted Out – informed by a church bell and a rickety old piano riff which suddenly starts to slip and slide around once various effects are added. It’s a very filmic piece and possibly the most accessible moment on the record.
Yes it’s pretentious stuff at times, but worth your attention.