The Declining Winter, Conquering Animal Sound, Fieldhead - The Bowery, Edinburgh, Sat 19 Sep
As pre-winter warmers go, the Tracer Trails organisation’s deliciously low-key triple bill was one of the loveliest things to snuggle up to as a way of marking the nights fair drawing in for the season. With refugee from Leeds veterans Hood Richard Adams still keeping the faith with his prolific The Declining Winter project, whose current live band includes support act Fieldhead’s driving force, P. Elam along with shared string players Sarah Kemp and Elaine Reynolds, it was Edinburgh duo Conquering Animal Sound sandwiched between them who proved to be the night’s most remarkable find.
Fieldhead open with a set of frozen laptop-generated soundscapes that generate a warmth beyond their contents via the twin violins veering off at different baroque angles in the most slow-burningly lovely way possible.
Conquering Animal Sound’s, ahem, Mono and Anooshka continue the mood with their meticulously built up vocal, laptop and electric guitar loops that evolve into spookily charming minimalist incantations. Kate Bush probably spent a fortune doing something spiritually similar if infinitely glossier with overdubs and Fairlights on her mid 1980s masterpiece The Hounds of Love’s closing sliver of a song, The Morning Fog Conquering Animal Sound, though, more conjure up the ghosts of lo-fi Bristolian spectralists Movietone if they’d been fronted by shadowy Swedish Chanteuse Stina Nordenstam for a set of glitch-tronic reimaginings of mediaeval madrigals and tooth-obsessed dream diaries.
The Declining Winter finds Adams’ songs fleshed out with a full six-piece behind him, which gives both a more conventional rock band weight to his doleful laments while conversely twisting them out of shape. More vocally exposed than on record, Adams at times resembles The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, which isn’t always a good thing. Even so, Adams’ charm wins the day with a late arriving instrumental wig-out that blows the cobwebs away to leave the room reeling.