Friday, 27 May 2011

The Fierce & the Dead
If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe
Out Now
Rating: 4/5

As one might expect from having heard their previous efforts, TFATD's record is for the most part an exhilarating blend of krautrock, space rock and upbeat progressive motifs that owe as much to Neu! as they would appear to be beholden to say, Portishead. The overall effect is something like a kinetic, instrumental take on the first Secret Machines album with a rather greater degree of electronics and somewhat cleaner production.

The first track, 'Flint' begins with washes of auto-oscillation before a driving motorik rhythm kicks in and carries the piece from start to finish, aided by sparse guitar figures. On 'Part 2' there's initially a continuation of the theme before an abrupt sturm-und-drang turn to loud post-rock two minutes in that's somewhat reminiscent of God is an Astronaut. Other tracks like 'The Wait' are more consciously sparse post-rock, but there's a great degree of variation; 'H.R.', for instance sounds like nothing so much as The Bends-era Radiohead, and 'Landcrab' is kind of like the older, thrashier, fuzz-bass, alternate-tunings fare that Placebo used to deal in so well.

Recent single '10x10' makes a welcome return, and the collection closes on 'Andy Fox', a brass-laced atmospheric number that builds round a bass hook to something sinister and brooding that just about recalls first-album Muse b-sides (seriously, go have a listen if you don't believe me). Though I've done a lot of name-dropping here (even by my standards), that's mainly because I'm always nervous about describing instrumental music to anybody, and I particularly don't like slipping into wanky 'palaces of sound' style writing (though sometimes it's unavoidable), so I'll close by referring you to the score, the fact that I took the time to write this, and the fact that it's a very enjoyable little record. My usual caveat remains: it's instrumental music, so if you're not into that then too bad. If you are, then have a listen and decide for yourself. There are plenty of ideas here to keep a leftfield music fan interested, and if you're not up for an album-length experience, I refer you back to their excellent last single 10x10

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