It's hard to imagine a band that using just drums and vocals would be an effective entity but Rattle sort of works. They consist of two drummers, Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley, who weave a percussive spell adding dual vocals along the way. This follow up to their well received self titled debut explores this territory further by way of four long form tracks which gives the duo space to explore their sound further.
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I've wondered for awhile how much mileage Rattle can get out of their two drum approach. Their debut self titled album showed signed of how their distinct melody free environment could be an immersive listen but at other times it just reminds you of a drum workshop. Hemp literally everywhere. Their second album consists of four long form pieces which perhaps due to their length have the time and space to fully explore their interlocking rhythms.
It's quite interesting how quickly you can get locked into workouts like the opener DJ. The duo are constantly varying their patterns in subtle ways leading the listener to almost stay on tenderhooks in waiting to find out what may happen next. Five minutes in the dual rhythms are forming a kind of skittering bass over which the duo finally, finally add subtle vocals. It's literally the best thing I've heard them do and by the finish sounds like two Jaki Lieberzeit's playing simultaneously whilst Damo Suzuki hums on top.
That opening track made me actually excited by the possibilities of what might exist in their sound so the next question is - where do they go next. Wordless vocals are used more obviously in 'Disco' but it demonstrates that with Rattle you have to be prepared to stick to their narrow sound template. It's perhaps heresy to wonder what would happen if they added, say, bass to their template but often their rhythms are too good to not sit behind something melodious and thrilling.
But we know what we are getting and we are going to have to deal with it. DJ is incredible, the rest is slightly lesser variations on similar themes but there's really no-one/nothing quite like them.
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