Conquering Animal Sound - On Floating Bodies (4 stars)

Conquering Animal Sound - On Floating Bodies

Duo's second album is full of daring and with gloriously rich palette

(Chemikal Underground)

Glasgow-based Conquering Animal Sound’s mosaic aesthetic bristles with invention on this their second full-length effort. There are times here when the term a cornucopia of sounds' seems like damning with faint praise; but, what is key is that this assemblage of audio curios still retains a resolute kernel of song craft and electronic-pop sensibility. At its centre is the voice of Anneke Kampman, itself something of a curiosity, full of Björk-ish flights of fancy that variably soar and sink, sometimes relying on bare-bones recital, and at others offering a full range of brisk harmonies full of declarative intent. Her ability to flick a switch and embark on a thrilling vocal adventure is one of the most endearing aspects of this record full of daring.

The musical esprit de corps between Kampman and other half of the duo James Scott begins to reveal itself in album opener, ‘Ultimate Heat Death of the Universe’, a gradual throbbing plaything that emerges from a knot of electronic detritus. It’s a good primer for what is to come. While this is not a difficult album, the tunes do take a period of engagement with the listener before they reveal themselves fully, layered as they often are in a thicket of vocal loops, beats, and aural fragments. The robust bass rumble of 'Warn Me' swells with a pregnant sense of anxiety before birthing an elegant chorus. ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ stalks with a similar intent, the brooding melancholia segues into some gorgeous layered vocal harmonies. It’s this kind of risk taking that drives the record, one with a gloriously rich palette, maybe most evident on the lonely echoed vocals of ‘Mimese’. Who dares wins, as they say.