Some softly spoken words from Stephen Molyneux. The Shape of Clouds to Come is the new release from this States-man. His heartfelt croon is aided by some calm strings, a delta styled guitar and warm percussion. It's somewhere between Grizzly Bear & Arthur Russell. Out on 12" vinyl from La Station Radar.
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Stephen Molyneux makes crystalline folk music and then lets it fade like a shadow losing light. His newest work, ‘The Shape Of Clouds To Come’, is a startling, organic and orchestral work that’s been broken into a hundred confused pieces -- like if Andrew Bird’s band were all playing a song at the same time with their backs turned to one another. If there were arrangements prepared for ‘The Shape Of Clouds To Come’, they were made so they could be destroyed -- you hear the soft drums stammering over Molyneux’s guitar, pronounced gorgeously but played off in another dimension, and you can see Molyneux in crisis: torn between day and night, the clouds and the clear sky, the real world and a better fantasy.
Molyneux is a folkie who’d rather be sleeping. He’s kind of like Grouper’s Liz Harris, in the sense that his music is created so organically it almost feels unreal as a result, the piano warping and the violins romanticising with the logic of a dream. His voice, too, is most fitting of a dream world, inflected with the slightest hints of twang and constantly slurred, as if his words only make sense in this moment. At times, his voice disappears for good chunks of songs, fragmented lyrics muttered before Molyneux recedes into the backdrop. He takes after the slowcore school of thought, in this sense, half-writing a song and then filling in the blanks with clanging and constant electric guitar. Oh, and if you’ve been craving guitar work that intrudes on your brainspace and whines as loudly as Galaxie 500 did, you’re in luck.
It’s a slow and hastily tethered record, but ‘The Shape Of Clouds To Come’ has plenty of pastoral beauty to it, and its lack of structural integrity makes its influences -- a dosage of country and Americana, a lot of languishing dream pop and hints of post-rock balladry -- easier to bear. When every artist playing in the same shades as Molyneux wants to make their record an easy, digestible work of art, it’s nice to hear music that’s a little bit drunk.
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- The Shape of Clouds to Come by Stephen Molyneux
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