New Zealand's finest gloom brothers, the Jefferies, worked their way around post-punk swirl in a variety of bands and had the pleasure of releasing it for classic labels like Xpressway and the esteemed Flying Nun. Their best project was This Kind of Punishment, where their more experimental inclinations came to life; A Beard of Bees was a record of strange movements tethered by their dirgy melodic inclinations.
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Ok then if you like quiet and serious music like This Mortal Coil or late period Talk Talk or David Sylvian or Scott Walker then This Kind of Punishment's 'Beard of Bees' is a record you need to hear. This Kind of Punishment was the brainchild of New Zealand brothers Graeme and Peter Jeffries who had earlier resided in the magnificent Joy Division-esque post punk band Nocturnal Projections but with TKOP they started the process of stripping their sound back.
What resulted was a unique brand of slo-mo art rock that combined guitars, piano, found sounds and the brothers deep-hued vocals. Majestic moments abound such as the remarkable 'The Horrible Tango' which breaks out of a kind of barrage of field recordings with repeating guitar figures above carefully picked out piano notes. They create a sense of unease and atmosphere that I find utterly unmatched. Their unique compositions are classically hued, yet they add in shards of discomfort by way of off kilter guitar notes that seem to wander semi-improvised across the music. Yet This Kind of Punishment's music however dislocated always has the feel that it's trying to come together. This leads to superb melodic passages such as that on 'Although They Appear' which emerges out of a sort of chaos - the guitars and pianos slowly find their feet in front of your eyes.
It finishes with 'An Open Denial' a circular composition which sounds like a stark wintry Antipodean take on Robert Wyatt's 'Gharbzadegi' - seemingly disparate notes coming together by way of beautiful piano and woody violin textures. A brilliant piece of music to end a short but essential career.
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- A Beard Of Bees by This Kind Of Punishment
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