Napolean IIIrd (aka James Mabbett) has certainly clocked up the miles since his last album six years ago. He moved from Yorkshire to London (boo!) then back to Yorkshire (yaay!) and here has documented his experiences into a bold and brave record that deals with grief, humanity and hope over the course of five lengthy and intense tracks.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 25 May 2017
Right, I've been wanting to hear this. Y'see the problem is that this office is chatty and the opening moments of this album are so quiet I can hear all kinds of detrius through the headphones. So I turn it right up and settle in and in comes the loudest guitar ever to pretty much deafen me. This sounds very promising indeed somewhere between Talk Talk 'Laughing Stock', Slint 'Spiderland' and weird Scott Walker records like 'Tilt'. However half way through the opener 'When We Sleep' the whole thing turns surprisingly into a chirpy little jig. I honestly wasn't expecting that.
'The Scrape' was the track I had been listening to on youtube that made me want to pick up this record. It is based around one of the doomiest bass lines known to man, with James Mabbett's unusual vocals (part man part horn) sitting on top. This is really rather brilliant, The track builds up with shards of guitar and saxophone littering the mix. Kind of like if Bark Psychosis and Gallon Drunk collaborated on the most frightening film ever. That good/scary.
It's a bleak and bold record and is as almost as grandiose and ridiculous as anything Scott Walker has come up with in recent years. The 19 minute And You and the Space Between' starts (almost disappointingly) as a Sigur Ros - ish slab of post rock before slowly disappearing into the ether of slowly degrading atmospheric rock.
The bits I like least about the record are the most normal such as closing ballad 'So It Goes' with it's saccharine sax - so the weirder Napoleon IIIrd get the harder they hit.
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