Housed in an icy seascape lino-print, the second Onus release, ‘Survival Burden’ opens with the expansive, oceanic basslines and crashing drums of ‘Urchins’ and ‘Ensimismada’ –with knotty narratives about slums, tsunamis and frozen time, rising up beyond the edges like freak cephalopods from the melodic waves and dissonant undertow. Then we have the claustrophobic space-rock of ‘Headguest’ before side A closes with ‘Schrine’; where a mesmeric build-up of dense arpeggios powers a chant on the arbitrariness of identity.
Side B takes us back out to sea with ‘Macey’s Letter’, with a sweet melodic motif engulfed in cascading bass and staggered drum patterns as words about ships, nations adrift and floating coffins are wrung out of the wash. ‘Colt Running’ is a tremolo-twang pop tune about equine abattoirs and ‘Emil’ –a cold-war dirge about skeletons in ashen forests. ‘Nerve Clinic’ ends the set, gleaning odd pearls from a gone-to-seed farmer, housed in a criss-cross glasshouse frame of gleaming bass and cymbal ricochet.
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- Limited edition