Roll Call Records (label)
09 January 2018 (released)
09 January 2018
Hailing from witch-capital Salem, Oregon, this eleven-piece band naturally divine inspiration from esoteric gloom-sayer Dante to human conditioner Samuel Beckett then onto neo-real surrealists like Federico Fellini and David Lynch, these 'signs of the times' sermons comprise a concept album divided into a quartet of quintessential moods and movements: Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning and Afterparty.
Frontman Kyle Morton’s catch-throat sombre timbre at times evokes a more bon viveurist Bon Iver, however, there’s no cabin fever here. This is superlative lit-rock whose one-word titles belie the intricate philosophical musings contained within, burrowing deep, but, never into darkness. Noel Gallagher’s Nursery Crime Roadshow this isn’t.
Opener ‘Wake’ is Crosby, Stills and Rationalism, a portentous electro-throbbing anti-choir harmonising ‘if there’s nothing’ before an ominous mass of Latin evocations. ‘Rorschach’ is a blot on the mindscape, with the post-millenial infoglut has come the erosion of meanings where truth and falsehoods blend into grey subjective realities where psychological collapse is but a click away: a mousetrap.
There’s no place like womb in ‘Empiricist’; the air of lostalgia for a time before the five-sense narrative of existence, the meaning of life evident in conception. A melancholic beginning elevates into a joyous finale, a life-cycle of birth to Earth.
Hollering vocals call and respond to an Arcade Fire brigade crash-endo in ‘Unusual’; a tale of wielding axes, wrecking balls and brandishing pitchforks as an unknown crime attracts punishment. Hatchets buried.
Ultra-vivid scenery is the backdrop to ‘Beachtowel’, an ivory tinkling, finger-pickin’ ode to shared pain with the sight of ‘ice cubes wrapped in a kitchen cloth’, are they to soothe a bruise or to blush a liquid crush for drowning sorrows? The shadows begin to dissipate on the bucolic ‘Coverings’, an uproarious clambering towards redemption and sanctuary.
The slow-strumming ‘Chiaroscuro’ could easily describe the tone of the whole album, lighted shade and shady light casting their wares throughout this journey of neo-realism.
Hellish utopias and heavenly dystopias never sounded so bleakly reassuring/reassuringly bleak. You decide.
Beware: Typhoon are soon blowing into town:
UK dates 2018:
28th February – Deaf Institute, Manchester
1st March – Broadcast, Glasgow
2nd March – Lexington, London
3rd March – Communion, London