Accomplished, sophisticated and heartfelt music.
Rob Crossan 2008
Like a dinghy full of Kurt 'Lambchop' Wagner's relations and their instruments sent out to sail in perpetuity, this is an album that requires patience, time and preferably a pair of old-fashioned, chunky headphones to listen through.
This is the third album from this Denmark-based U.S quartet who, on Forever Altered, seem to be in a continued state of disagreement as to whether the sound they create should emulate ambient indie of the 1991 school, or the Erik Satie-esque melancholy of a more atavistic time. Both sounds are present in the appropriately named finale of Colliding - a sombre and arresting shift from inchoate impressionism to grinding My Bloody Valentine-like guitars.
This is an album where songs, in a manner Sigur Ros would no doubt approve of, seamlessly weave into, and at times almost tumble on top of, each other. The Waves by Virginia Woolf, mixed with the lush orchestration of 80s pop classicists Green Garside and Paddy MacAloon comes to glorious fruition on Throw Me The Ropes. It's a gorgeous evocation of emotional urgency with Todd Casper's voice creaking gently like a wooden boat being slowly untied from its mooring as he breathes; "Oh my, that's a clever vantage point they claim/Looks like they could never be to blame''.
Not every track shares this blissed-out pop sensibility. Tracks elsewhere can lapse into a ponderous plod where you yearn for some tightening up in the indulgence stakes. Superb as the musicianship is, this kind of ethereal talent needs to be carefully produced.
Nonetheless, this is accomplished, sophisticated, heartfelt music where you're never far away from a stunning lyrical couplet or surprising burst of rasping energy.