London indie band Virginia Wing and electronic experimentalists XAM Duo, who are comprised from members of Hookworms and Deadwall, got together in Bradford on freezing January day and did a little bit of improvising. Tomorrow’s Gift is the exciting, tweaked and refined result of those sessions.
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 30 November 2017
I know I'm actually the worst person on the entire planet to review this record (sax problems)....but there's literally no-one else and I kind of know it's good because the other day it was playing in the office and I almost got off my chair to find out what it was.
One thing is for sure, it's the best thing to come out of Bradford since...um...Smokie. It was recorded in what I presume to be a freezing warehouse in the city and as the name suggests it is a collaboration between now Manchester based electronic duo Virginia Wing and Hookworms/Deadwall temporary escapees XAM Duo. Though it starts with a lengthy experimental jam with nods to Sun Ra in 'Birch Polygon', my ears are particularly caught by the superb 'Yesterdays Guest' - a magnificent sprawl of skewed electronics, drifting found sounds topped off with Alice Richards half spoken word vocals which as the melodic bits come in sweeps into singing. What a great, great track and proof that you can be experimental and tuneful.
The album is indeed a sprawl but an enjoyable one. It's twinkling futurism reminds my of last years Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith 'EARS' album in that the sounds are hypnotic, kind of joyous, with nods to early Animal Collective. The other absolute stand out is 'Good Roads Fair Weather' which emerges out of gorgeously plucked rhodes pianos, Richards' voice at its most clear and tuneful, a tentative four four beat gliding along, Chris Duffin's saxophone Colin Stetson like in it's unusual phrasings. There's lots of sax here but I don't find it annoying at all, on 'Person to Person' it takes lead over some lovely repetitive beats and soft rhodes piano on a startling (near) instrumental piece.
It's just one of those album that blends disparate sounds together and seems to have been recorded on the hoof but seems to work. Too bloody late for an Album of the Year contender but this one shouldn't be ignored.
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