Our Man In The Bronze Age: The Gallows Tree

The finest thing to come out of Milton Keynes since the A5.

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The trick of balancing extremes of aggression and fragility has stumped many bands. An evident preference for one or the other usually wrecks the desired fluidity of transitions between the two. Our Man In The Bronze Age are, however, a skilful bunch, and on their debut album these Milton Keynes residents deftly defy the odds, seamlessly drifting from apocalyptic guitar squalls to unbearably plaintive and sparse piano/vocal downtimes with breathtaking flair.

Opening track Lying On Wormy Ground is as frail and lovely as anything on a Fleet Foxes album, albeit with a gritty underbelly that repeatedly sends shocking sparks to the synapses.

Similarly powered by an intuitive grasp of dynamics and atmosphere, Eyebags and Her Lucidity marry stormy left-field rock to delicate, soothing lulls. These hint at superficial kinship with the likes of Gazpacho and Anathema while inhabiting a sonic world that is almost entirely unique.

When they finally floor the accelerator on the rumbling grind of The Other I, this artful quintet whip up a tornado of focused dissonance that makes the meandering schizophrenia of Jean – A Turn For The Worse all the more startling.