Just over two years ago, snowed in and listening to new sounds I had a link bounced over to me by Pity my Brain’s main man Jamie Richards, that stopped me in my tracks, the LP was called Time the band was called Dystopian Future Movies. Looking into the background after duly ordering said LP I found that the band’s mainstays were Bill Fisher & Caroline Cawley from the rather tasty Church of the Cosmic Skull (If you haven’t discovered them yet I suggest you get a shift on!!).
For this album Bill and Caroline are joined in the band, by Guitarist, Rafe Dunn and Bassist Oisin O’Doherty. The rather stunning artwork comes from an image of an abandoned Tuberculosis Sanitorium in Caroline’s native Ireland.
Dark indeed and that’s where I want to start this review, opener “Countenance”, eases it’s way out of the speakers, at times Intense, at times sparse, leading with a dark brooding sense of decay, Caroline’s vocals adding an almost otherworldly ethereal feels. Being honest if you try and pitch a particular style of genre, you’d be wrong! Taking a stab I’d say post-Industrial at times? Highlighting a time in the future, where dark paths have been taken. There’s an underlying dread, but maybe a sense of hope?
Moving on next up “wreckage” draws you in, the discordant acoustic lead demanding attention before the vocals lift it up a gear you start to get the feel of a story being played out musically, the counterpoint vocals giving it a depth before we’re drawn into an industrial-style framework, with Bills drumming starting to become incessant, demanding almost. Before we get lost in the wreckage we’re moved forward into “Rules” almost a taking stock of what’s happening, vocally this is a powerful performance, the voice setting the tone for the at times sparse orchestration that eventually pulls you upwards and into the story unfolding. “All the Light” is a coming to terms song what’s come before and a movement away from where we’ve been. Again the vocals lead over a discordant, sparse musical background drawing you indefinitely less is more giving this track both an intensity and fragility. This fragility comes to the fore within next track “Kathleen”, a real stand out.
Moving or easing forward into “Black cloaked” and we’re drawn back into a haunted past, unable to break free from what we’ve experienced, this is a seriously good track and really pins you back, probably the most intense on the album, distorted, discordant and driving in equal measures. Before we’ve come to terms with what we’ve heard we come to a conclusion with “Ten years” we’re now the observer overseeing the whole, removed no longer part of the story.
This is a seriously good LP, bursting with ideas, and me for one will look forward to seeing it translated into the live arena.
Author: Nev Brooks