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Burning Alms In Sequence
Vinyl LP. Smalltown America.
8/10 from Clinton (Staff) on 06 August 2014
90’s indie-rock is most certainly ‘in’ these days. Burning Alms a duo from Birmingham, UK (though they sound as American as it gets) seem to have pilfered bits and bats from the great and good of the flannel shirted brigade to unleash this absolute racket of a record.
Its one of those that goes all over the shop from pummelling post-hardcore to Sonic Youth guitar mangling to plaintive J Mascis-style acoustic pieces. The tracks are linked by bits of dialogue and experimental guitar evocations. Its messy, its exciting, its like the albums I used to love back in the day. And like many albums I love I can’t quite figure out which track is which due to them rushing at me at such breakneck speed so apologies if the titles don’t quite match the tracks I’m attempting to talk about.
There are stand outs all over the place ‘Mid-Storm’ (I think) recalls any manner of 90’s manglers but for ease of reference let’s say its gritty grinding Sebadoh in a lock in with Fugazi with Malkmus on vox. After the blitzkreig bottleneck of the first few tracks its nice to get some drifty finger pickin’ goodness on 'The Pastoral' which taps into the Lou Barlow of Sentridoh thing before the rowdy beast that is ‘Forest Clearing’ closes the A side. Overleaf it continues in such thrilling all-over-the-bloody-shop style, flat out rockers mix with drifting interludes, folky waltzes and garagey lo-fi fun.
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Burning Alms' hail from Birmingham, UK - their sound recalls the catchy noise-pop of Hot Snakes, Glenn Branca, Swans and Sun Kil Moon. On debut album 'In Sequence' (from which this track is lifted) this pop sensibility rubs shoulders with yearning acoustic ballads and droning, avant-garde instrumental experimentation.
John Biggs (Guitar/Vocals) and Tom Whitfield (Drums) share a long history in a variety of musical guises. Their writing partnership began more than a decade ago with the sinewy singalongs of the much loved quartet Distophia. This morphed into the more rock-oriented trio Calories (Tough Love Records) and since 2012 as a duo in Burning Alms. Losing a band member with each incarnation could be viewed as a malevolent state of affairs (just what are they doing with the bodies?) – but in the case of Burning Alms, their music benefits from the directness a limited setup provides.
In Sequence by Burning Alms. Vinyl LP. STA138LP.
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