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Blueneck - The Outpost album review

The Bristol post-rockers add a layer of electro-pulse disquiet

It’s hard to know where post-rock ends and modern prog begins at the best of times, but as self-styled purveyors of “alternative/ambient”, Blueneck have side-stepped all looming pigeonholes, creating a unique sound-world. There are faint echoes of Anathema’s recent brush with electronica in the serene drift of Hypnos and Hive, but one of Blueneck’s greatest charms is their ability to hold back from delivering expected crescendos: instead, they deftly sustain underlying disquiet.

Driven by the pitter-patter of sequenced beats and a cocooning fog of hazy guitars, songs like opener From Beyond and the exquisitely catchy Ghosts occasionally threaten to stumble into the empty bombast of arena indie rock, but there’s enough peripheral oddness to keep their creators from the straight, narrow path. This amorphous formula is most potent on Rats In The Wall: a delicate, droning electro-pulse creates immediate tension that Duncan Attwood’s sleepy whispers compound, his bandmates’ gradual emergence promising a closure that never quite arrives. It’s all so delicately expressed that it could be dismissed as blank-eyed background music. Plunge in, however, and your spine will be extensively tingled.