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Tom Slatter - Murder And Parliament album review

Tom Slatter’s instrumental project is an admirably unpredictable affair

Tom Slatter - Murder And Parliament album artwork

It’s a bold move for this British progger to make an instrumental album, because part of the charm of the handful of albums he’s released under his own name are his eccentric yarns and streaks of lyrical humour. But Tom Slatter clearly loves challenging himself and his audience. If there are hints of Slint and their post-rock guitar tangles in the lo-fi opening bars of A Scattering, that represents relative calm before a storm of anxious jazz rock that somehow manages to coagulate into something satisfyingly hook-laden. Crookedness is bookended by indie punk thrash, either side of more contemplative puddles of noise. Inevitably, it can be hit and miss. The angular, shredding metal guitar on Grey Malkin and the slightly zany uptempo passages don’t appeal to this reviewer, but in the context of a piece asking you to expect the unexpected, it works. And sure enough, Embers is a complete mood change, a beautifully alluring cloud of smoky violin and mournful guitar musings mutating into stargazing dream vistas. Then Clamour’s hooky, heavy riff lifts the atmosphere, and once more all bets are off. When your music has this much character, what are words worth?