Crescent - Resin Pockets

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7 Release Date:2017-05-26

With the Trip-Hop scene and Flying Saucer Attack and their associated acts (Movietone, Third Eye Foundation), dominating music columns and radio play in the 90s, fellow Bristol natives Crescent (not thankfully the terrible La's worshipping jangly Merseysiders who shared the same name) were often overlooked, despite mainstay Matt Jones also contributing to Movietone and their lead Kate Wright, returning the favour by playing bass for Crescent. Understandably sharing aesthetics with FSA and their luminaries, Crescent produced five albums of understated beauty over the past two decades. Resin Pockets is the first release in ten years and mines a similar stomping ground to previous album, Little Waves, which was a major departure from the experimentation and abstraction of old.

'Get Yourself Tidy' leans towards Americana, with acoustic guitars, 60s drum patterns, nodding to Bedhead and Pavement, especially with Matt's vocals. Nice bass notes permeate, sounding more atonal than expected, with bits of woodwind thrown in, with lyrics suggesting relaxation and letting time pass effortlessly. “We drifted through the longest day, the landscape cut up and delayed and sit up on the hill and play as though we had an infinite amount of time”.

Relaxation continues with 'Impressions', a lo-fi sounding track with a slacker vibe, a'la Sebadoh or Shearwater. Matt's vocalisation is more expressive, like the Clean, with an understated organ adding depth to the proceedings. A two minute breath of fresh air.

Yo La Tengo low-end, minor-key piano propels 'I'm Not Awake', accompanying Matt's acoustic guitar strummings and monotone vocals. Just as you're settling in, occasional drums and fuzzed guitar break-outs appear at regular intervals, with an echoed, electric guitar, like a siren, jolting the listener part way through.

Fragility is often an explored avenue, such as on 'Willow Pattern' where the subtlest of background noises and samples leads us into Matt's vocals, guitar and piano. Descending woodwind and organ make a polite entrance to a delicate track that the Palace Brothers could be proud of. Likewise 'Lightbulbs In The Trees' where a toy piano, cymbal-heavy percussion and just a hint of background electronics supports Matt's vocals and guitar.

You would expect 'AC30' to be dreamy swirls of guitar noise that are usually representative of those who worship the said named amp, but here the guitar play is subtle, with jazz-sounding drumming hidden in the background. Matt's vocals become more parched as the song moves along, sounding not dis-similar to Okkervil River's beautiful 'A Girl In Port'.

The highlight of Resin Pockets is 'Charlstone'. Not much mysique here, but neither is the song conventional. Guitars and voice make way for a beautiful organ, a crackled distorted backing, woodwind and what sounds like someone constantly getting trapped in an insect curtain made out of wind-chimes, as the song becomes temporarily ominous. Matt's vocal and guitar reappear alongside sumptuous keys further into the track and provide a beautiful backing to Matt's sadness-tinged vocals.

Field recordings open closer 'Roman Roads' as an accordion weaves discordantly in and out, as an acoustic guitar makes its entrance. Matt just sings “Roman roads and drifting kids”, with a female vocal appearing in retort. Slow and very laid-back, a nice, relaxed finish to an interesting and unexpected album.

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