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As Godspeed You Black Emperor gear up for their tour of the world's enormodromes, the deluge of related releases continues giving you plenty of time to keep your eyelids unfastened as you peruse the merchandise desk during the three and a half hour set. I saw them once in Manchester, I went in clean-shaven and came out with a beard. True story. Anyway this is like the nicer bits of Godspeed. Absolutely beautiful cello playing, the instrument pretty much weeps its way through this LP. It's accompanied by all manner of percussion (steel drum, marimba, glockenspiel); later they foray into vocals edging towards Dead Can Dance territory and often the marimba shuffles recall some of Tom Waits's macabre waltzes. We get post rock flourishes and hints of Dirty Three-like instrumentals but while the album is nicely varied, the best tracks are the simple cello-led ones, absolutely stunning music which recalls Rachel's at their most melancholy. The album ends on a tragic note with a track the band recorded with Lhasa de Sela who tragically passed away not long after the recording was made at a tenderly young age. It's beautiful and sounds not unlike Antony and the Johnsons' more insular chamber-like pieces. An impressive work and fine addition to the Godspeed etc. musical canon.
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