Thought Forms, one of Bristol’s finest experimental song outfits for many years now, release their third full-length album. Songs About Drowning, which features bonus bass player Jim Barr (of Portishead), is as much about sublime noisy textures as it is about the dramatic songs (and vice versa). The album is pressed to purple vinyl, with a download code, on Geoff Barrow’s Invada label.
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New on Invada is a makeyouthink indie pop record by Thought Forms, who sublimate little hints of noise texture into a largely plaintive, tactfully melodic record of, dare I even splutter the word, songs. I think they’d like you to think it’s in the family tree of profound shoegazers, though it initially makes me think more of the XX than anything, with its ultimately well-clarified and finely-tuned pop preservations.
It is very enjoyable, though the noise elements sort of detach: you can hear them running parallel on “Woolf Music”, where a chord sequence struck like a match and a moody vocal duet take centre-stage. So much space is opened up in the record that the bitter taste of this record only occupies one corner of proceedings, while the rest remains a gorgeously scoped pop record with focus on its wide atmosphere, rather than hooks or textures. “Aeaea” feels like a lovely proggy ballad thanks to its big, signalling, twanging sound and collapsing drum fill, showing that the band are funnest as jammers -- if you aren’t making melodies that set the world on fire, then this kind of fractured post-rock will do -- it sounds like a sludgy Mouse On the Keys.
Thought Forms’ refined sound keeps proceedings delicate and enjoyable -- it’s just best in the moments when they clench up and the tension becomes palpable, as on “Missouri”, between its verses -- a quick flurry of fret-suppressions suddenly lend the song its high drama, and the band are off. With these kind of moments to hand, this record will surprise you, just maybe not consciously. Great constructions.
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