9/10 Clinton Staff review, 07 June 2012
They say great things come to those who wait. Or in musical terms the more you battle on, the more rewarded you will be. Having pretty much cut any musical career I had short years ago in order to spend more time watching football and eating cakes, I really admire bands like Piano Magic who battle through about a million changing trends sticking resolutely to their vision. Appearing on their own superb imprint Second Language, they must surely be in double figures now album wise but this eschews the more guitar heavy work of recent years to a return to a more electronic based sound. Opening with a short cello interlude (if you can start with an interlude that is), the first main track ‘Judas’ is an eerie bass led opus with middle eastern sounding instrumentation and effects. Vocals are murmured in a 80’s 4AD way and the ghosts of the likes of Dead Can Dance haunt the track. ‘The Slightest of Threads’ is another eerie track based around a rubbery bassline and keening empassioned (yet barely whispered voice).
A female vocal appears on ‘Sing Something’ built around a very simple organ line - the minimalist approach they seem to have taken is seeming to pay dividends - the album has a particular strange almost muted feel throughout and seemingly exists in its own foggy underground world. Following on from the murk it is lovely to hear a gorgeous plaintive acoustic lament in ‘Lost Antiphony’ which uses picked guitars, brushed drums and understated flute to devastating effect. The title track itself is a macabre waltz, not sounding unlike some of Matt Elliott’s recent misery. They may well be a long way through their musical journey but this album not only stands up against their own back catalogue but pushes their sound into new and exciting shapes and is surely deserving of more wide ranging accolades.
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