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The jury is still out on this new Ellis Island Sound album. We had it on in the office whilst I tucked longingly into a sandwich and it was kind of drifting past, but pleasantly I must add. This collaboration between David Sheppard (Phelan/Sheppard, Snow Palms) and Pete Astor (The Loft/The Weather Prophets) previously mined a more electronic tip but this recent album sees them taking influence fr ...

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REVIEWS

Regions by Ellis Island Sound
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7/10 Clinton 03 April 2014

The jury is still out on this new Ellis Island Sound album. We had it on in the office whilst I tucked longingly into a sandwich and it was kind of drifting past, but pleasantly I must add.

This collaboration between David Sheppard (Phelan/Sheppard, Snow Palms) and Pete Astor (The Loft/The Weather Prophets) previously mined a more electronic tip but this recent album sees them taking influence from afro-beat/kraut rock and t-funk era Talking Heads. Except that it lacks a certain pizzaz to compete with their worldly record collections. Opener ‘Nairobi/Koln’ does a job. The vocals by Radiohead collaborator John Matthias ape Malcolm Mooney but lack charisma to really bring the music to life.

‘So Much Water Close To Home’ has a Talking Heads like bassline and is littered with dubbed out horns sending it into the Pigbag type direction. ‘We Do Not’ opens with a three note guitar figure and again horns are deployed to pick out a melody. The drums are firmly in the Neu category of minimalism, everything is in place but whereas I wanted the track to build it just drifts along dropping things in and out along the way. I’m quite enjoying the Jah Wobble-like bass and fluttery electronics of ‘Offices at Night’ which is a much more in a Moonshake hazed out dubby style.

‘Herr Ya Ya’ heads into flickering ‘Future Days’ era Can territory and ’Schwitters in Lakeland’ is like the jazzy side of American Music Club on a loop, slowly progress towards the kind of instrumentaln post rock made by Sheppard's previous band State River Widening. Still, its a valiant attempt to move their sound along and it could well be a grower. Time will tell.    




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