Saturday, 5 December 2009

reviews: the clientele, eagleowl, father murphy

some more reviews:

The Clientele - Bonfires On the Heath (****)
When US tastemakers Pitchfork unveiled their list of the decade’s greatest albums, UK readers would have been excused for quizzically raising eyebrows at the incongruous appearance of The Clientele. Despite long-term stateside devotion, the London-based psych-pop troupe have reached only a minority of hearts at home, an inexplicable state of affairs that Bonfires On The Heath seems unlikely to alter. Not because it lacks quality – its woozy symphonies burst with sumptuous harmonies, and Alasdair Maclean’s husky croon is as seductive as ever – but because it’s so utterly at odds with any and every trend you care to mention. They sound both vintage and timeless, indebted to Love and Lambchop with an off-kilter sensibility that rewards immersion. As a rule, the more downbeat the better (unless bossanova rhythms are your bag) but in truth there isn’t a dud note to be found. It’s time to lower those eyebrows.

Out Now

Eagleowl - Sleep the Winter (****)
A song’s beauty can reside in the slightest of touches, the line separating a graceful composition from a shiver-inducing one sometimes as ephemeral as a single soft chord-change. Eagleowl’s aptitude for meticulously delicate, dewy-eyed alt-folk will be no secret to anyone with a copy of For the Thoughts You Never Had in their collection, yet Sleep the Winter’s gentle strings and appropriately chilly, under-the-breath vocals still manage to constitute an eye-opening step forward. And when the melody lifts midway through to usher in a chorus of sorts, the effect manages to be both understatedly subtle yet monumentally affecting.

Out Now

Father Murphy - And So He Told Us To Turn To the Sun (****)
Inspired by an unholy union of two of their native Italy’s most enduring exports – Catholicism and trashy horror – Father Murphy are a nightmare of tortured groans, discordant clatters and chilling chants, a black mass that would fit comfortably into Constellation’s galaxy of unorthodox oddities. Corrupted organ drones mix into haunted whispers, but lest this sound is too unsettling, the menace is paired with a knowing ridiculousness. Aware of their theatrical absurdity, the band inject welcome silliness to the penultimate At That Time I Guess We Misunderstood, before the closing In Their Graves revives the dread, its incessant beat giving way to a John Carpenter-esque dirge punctuated with eerie death rattles (well, drums). Their uncanny talent for evoking bad omens won’t appeal to all, but for those with the constitution for such things, Father Murphy’s unfamiliar atmospherics will provoke the right kind of shudders.
7th December

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