Sunday, 25 April 2010

Shipping News - Flies The Fields

Excellent album of muscular, focused and intense US indie. Released on Quarterstick in 2005, this band has quite a serious pedigree - the members featuring in such groups as Rodan, Rachel's, June Of '44 and The For Carnation. A look at that line up gives a good indication of the sounds herein - there is a large post-rock influence, with rumbling bass and angular, repetitive guitar lines dominating fairly long instrumental passages; but there is also plenty of powerful melody, very much in the vein of Shora and The For Carnation, but mostly played with the standard band instruments of bass, drums and guitar.
There are some nicely heavy moments, too - achieved as much by considered composition as stepping on a distortion pedal: the way that instrumental 'Louven' builds is a beautiful example. Some of the songs occasionally explode, too: 'Morays (Or Demon)' is gloriously adorned by brilliant guitar lines, fractured by metal vocals and distortion a couple of times.
The building of tension is key to the success of this album - the stronger melodies are thrown into bold relief when they appear; the heavy moments appear more violentm and throughout, there is a seriousness of intent, and a sense of lurking threat amidst the sober introspection.
"We are a generation of everyday collision" is one of the lines from the magnificent 'The Human Face', and might well sum up this band, although that song is followed by the rather lovely 'Untitled With Drums', which is sweetly softened by the addition of duet vocals by Fay Davis Jeffers of Pit Er Pat. It has a similarly effective magic as the unexpected female vocals in the Shora album, and perfectly sets up the epic album closer 'Paper Lanters (Zero Return)', with its relentlessly heavy bass.
As I sit listening to this album writing about it, I am wondering why I haven't tracked down all their other releases.


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