Darius Keeler’s adventurous post trip-hop project is one of those acts that have flown consistently under the radar of mainstream acclaim in the UK, yet that only makes them more of a cherished best-kept secret to their fans. This 10th studio album will certainly keep the cognoscenti happy, and might recruit a few new converts too. Beautifully desolate opening track Blue Faces has a mournful midnight piano, accompanied by a despondent, fragile vocal.
It’s redolent of the Bowness/Chilvers partnership, but Archive naturally tend towards less soothing sounds. They show up soon enough on Driving In Nails, full of breathless rat-a-tat beats and industrial shards of electronic rhythm. The Pull Out is a dark, breathless soundtrack to the chase scene from an imaginary movie that gets the pulse racing, as does the urgent synth-pop noir of the title track. Archive are at their best on more expansive, airy reveries such as Bright Lights and A Thousand Thoughts’ piano-led laments. Lyrics about those who ‘drink blood from the needy’ suggest there are pointed themes here, but whether you choose to explore them or not, this is a record well worth spending quality time with.