This album opens with free-form percussion and electronics (provided by guest noisemaker, Woodpecker Wooliams) under tolling guitar chords. At this point Brighton’s Eyes And No Eyes have already gripped the attention, but what next? The drums come in, twitchy and syncopated against the guitar. Then bass, then a rich, melodic cello. Now all the musicians are glancing off each other and it’s only in the last minute of the seven-minute track that the tension is broken, as they head as one to the finish line.
It’s a subtle but exciting reconfiguration of rock band as rhythmic and melodic unit. Their music is full of odd angles and melodic shapes, with its roots in the sort of jagged, choppy guitars of early Talking Heads, Josef K. Autocrat is a gorgeous tune with chattering electronics backing the high velocity drum figures.
It’s Becca Mears’ cello that really distinguishes them, with her gnawing mid-range drones and rhapsodic melody lines. And when it seems like it might be getting just a bit too uptight they deliver the spangly guitar picking of the drumless Blackwaterside (not the traditional folk tune), and the haunted processional, The Drowned World.