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I've got the new Grumbling Fur at the top of my review bucket this morning. "Gonna be huge", enthuses Phil. "Kinda Depeche Mode", says a somewhat more objective post-it note stuck to the promo. Both opinions are probably correct, but somewhat reductive.
This lot are of course a sophisti-pop super-duo of sorts, featuring members of Circle, Guapo and Alexander Tucker, and there are moments on this album which are pure Depeche Mode, the opener and closer in particular seem to borrow more than a little from said band, but pretty soon they fan out in all sorts of unexpected directions, from tightly harmonised medieval-tinged chamber pop to flickering Boards of Canada-esque miniatures and delicately detailed Talk Talk-ish post-pop.
I'm really enjoying 'Feet of Clay', a gentle folky number with subtle counterpoint vocals, fingerpicked guitars and sawing strings soaring hypnotically over patient, understated electronic loops. The stumbling, dreamy waltz of 'Mister Skeleton' is another hit with its silky synth drones, twangy strings and clicky little beats.
It's sometimes almost confusingly sonically dense as the synthetic and organic layers of sound pile on top of one another, but the easy grooves and comforting melodies and almost krauty repetition take it into light and uplifting places. Unashamedly clever progressive pop that has the good manners to charm as well as challenge the listener.
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