Excellent moody guitar-led business from Van Couer, a band who have learned all the lessons of the 90’s slow alternative underground, and learned them well. For Crosshairs, a double LP, the core trio is augmented at times by accordion and viola from Caroline Weeks and Abi Fry respectively, plus the great Thomas House working the soundboard for maximum sonic character. Released by Mulso Primary Records.

Vinyl Double LP £19.99

2LP on Mulso Primary Records.

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Crosshairs by Van Coeur
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8/10 Will 20 June 2019

Van Coeur are a Brighton-based band making a lovely brand of bleak, sparse post-rock. They're like Low with a more abrasive edge. Crosshairs is their new album, and it's a haunting and strangely unnerving work. I think what makes this record unnerving is just how sparse it is. Van Coeur do that thing that Slint do where most instruments drop out to leave a single one playing and you can hear fingers on strings, parts that are very slightly out of tune, little human sounds. We're so used to music that's full that hearing something that isn't feels incomplete, like you're trespassing somewhere, somehow. 

This album has a palpable air of anticipation (much like Spiderland), you're always waiting for the pressure valve to be released. One such moment where this happens is on 'Crosshairs' where great sheets of distorted guitars bulldoze in. Lyrically, there's your usual slowcore murmuring about "pools of light" and what have you, but there's an interesting ecological focus. For instance, on 'Musk-Ox' sings about depleted fish stocks; indeed most songs titles on the album reference animals. 

Although there's this constant air of anxiety and bleakness, there are often moments of wistful happiness like on 'Elk' which urges you to "take the river". Optimism? No. But certainly an album that feels cleansing. 


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