- by Ian Fraser Rating:8 Release Date:2016-07-22 Label: Thrill Jockey
The Brooklyn NYC trio’s fourth long ‘un sees them move a step away from the Greek folk-psych of 2014’s Kykeon (although the influences are still plain to hear) towards a more diverse experimentation and a contrasting sonic palette.
‘Concentric Village’ is a beautifully restrained and at times hypnotic rumination on guitar, showcasing main man Dave Shuford’s Sir Richard Bishop leadings. It prepares the listener nicely for ‘The Nine’, more laid-back instrumentation, this time lightly percussive and occasionally jaunty while heavily suggestive of eastern (Mediterranean) promise. Continental shifts abound as Shuford crunches into countrified barroom blues mode more usually associated with his “other band”, D. Charles Speer and the Helix, but which features a strung-out (in both senses of the word) coda of experimental, electronic drone. Things take a left turn on ‘End Of Ambivalence’ which meanders in a righteous ambulatory style not dissimilar to the Grateful Dead at their most psychedelically whacked but still dextrously tight, It all comes together in one great splosh on ‘DD Damage’ a great and typically quirky slice of alien-sounding Americana on which the band, if not out of their heads, are well and truly up on their toes. The Great Deconstruction, though, comes in the rather incorporeal form of ‘The Variety Playhouse’ by which time the cast sounds like it’s stumbling around the aisles, pointing in rapt amazement at the house lights. Curtains.
Make no mistake there are some exceptional sounds here and although some listeners may find it an uneven listen, those of us with already ridiculous musical posture have nothing to fear. Nothing at all.