They called it Country Music but I think they are actually big liars: this psych rock outfit wouldn't know twang if it hit them on the head and chased them around the barn in a pick-up truck of lovelorn melodies. So instead: Vision Fortune hone their usual compositions of sparse, strangely coalescing percussion and bass, with sound effects and vocals that attempt to ground the impossibly abstract but come up short. Weird shit; not so country, but it was made in the country.
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Named ‘Country Music’ as a joke at the genre’s expense, Vision Fortune are actually referring to the lavish villa they hauled up in to record their newest and weirdest record -- it’s got a pool, a few different buildings and a decent congregation of shrubbery. So much for that honest pick-up truck life: this miniature collective of sound splicers have established themselves as an excellent candidate for the opposite of whatever the latest Hank Williams descendent is doing (okay, minus the one who chills with the Melvins), and on this record, they offer a misnomer of noise rock that builds around instrumental soundscapes before releasing its energy in dissatisfied ripples. Frustration: it sounds so good.
‘Country Music’ builds around razor-sharp synths -- not the fun kind, but rather those that drain all the colour out of your cheeks -- and a smattering of percussion that keeps time but sounds deceptive, as if it were syncopated when actually Vision Fortune have got it down. The band’s creepy allure recalls the pop developments of our favourite geniuses Liars -- this record could easily be a sibling of ‘Sisterworld’, with its cruel ambience and clear, unkind vocals. About those vocals: they come and go when they like, the band mixing them into the furious swirl of “Cleanliness” with both slightness and fullness: they come in for sparse and disconnected moments, but vocal harmonies line the outer parameters of the song. Meanwhile synth plays on industrial autopilot, like Factory Floor with a hatred for dancing.
Without much of an interest in specific presentation, ‘Country Music’ sounds like a bunch of discombobulated experiments colliding with one another. That’s part of what makes Vision Fortune’s work so compelling, though -- it actually is the strange mess it describes, wringing fear and atmosphere ex nihilo. There’s just enough coalescence in the actual songwriting department for this to work -- the build-ups are long and winding, but eventually we reach a morose vocal line like “Ties and Bound”. All that walking down the corridor was worth it.
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