- LP £18.99
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- ELV025 / Second LP pressing on P.W Elverum & Sun. Includes a download.
- Includes download code
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1 review. Add your own review.
Right, it’s about bloody time we had a decent record to review. Not just an ‘okay’ one but a great one. Can anyone do it? It’s heaping a fair bit of pressure on Phil Elverum but he’s wowed certain members of the Norman Records team in the past with his Microphones and Mt Eerie work so why not now? The press release certainly makes this sound something special indeed and from the first few tracks it’s immediately apparent that something very different is going on here.
The sound is somehow lo-fidelity and borderline pompous at the same time - all huge synth washes and distorted noise. You could describe the production as Enya-esque - particularly when a female voice enters the equation but Elverum’s voice is quite Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on this record, the white-man whine. I wish he’d step up to the plate a bit vocal wise - the music is nothing if not ambitious and alas the vocals sit apologetically underneath masking what could be some pretty evocative lyrical couplets.
The sprawling tracks are segwayed by further shards of noise which are at times disconcerting. But not as disconcerting as some of the jarring musical textures on display - the climbing double basses of ‘Lone Bell’ are joined by askew sax and wailing electric guitar winding up into a searing wall of noise. Things turn really impressive on ‘House Shape’ which marries My Bloody Valentine chord changes to the intoxicating brew with Elverum’s vocals taking on a chant like texture. It’s the best thing here by a country mile.
Elsewhere there’s plenty of bowed cymbals and churning dark ambience. It’s a very claustrophobic record, sounding a bit like Songs Ohia’s excellent ‘Ghost Tropic’ stretching sounds and song structures way beyond their natural span. I’m not sure I even like it but I think there plenty who will and there are some stunning high points within the murk, closer ‘Yawning Sky’ in particular resembles David Grubbs if he discovered Vangelis’s synth collection and is hauntingly effective.
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