Also released round-up: The Cairo Gang, Grant Hart and Kill the Captains reviewed
Releases from The Deep Red Sky, Ensemble Economique, Tortoise, James McVinnie and Mika Vainio also rated
From punk mosh-pits to Milton's Paradise Lost, the ex-Hüsker Dü drummer's voyage has certainly swerved a little. The epic poem upon which his eighth album is intricately based is unfortunately not the only archaic presence, as rhyming couplets imbue melodies with a lacklustre predictability. Hats well-and-truly off for thought, scope and complexity; hats firmly back on for final delivery.
The Cairo Gang
The band's moniker may be unwittingly released in poor taste this month, but Emmett Kelly's fourth standalone effort will tantalise those craving 12-string sun-dried throwbacks to decades previous. The collaborative intimacy of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy may be lost in the trip, but nostalgia is not. 'Shivers' is a wonderfully gloomy highlight.
Kill The Captains
They may boast a drummer named P Collins but this Sheffield's second effort appears to have had its genesis in harmful genetic mutation. 'Nowbiter' fearlessly soars while its anthesis 'The Taking Of' merely woolgathers; such bipolar disparity a perfect example of how difficult this four-piece's very own land of confusion is to grasp.
The Deep Red Sky
An Auld Reekie outfit whose first attempt is admirable, if uninventive. 'Getting Easier' and 'Paralysed' are siphoned from Biffy Clyro's softer sounds, but the simultaneous male/female vocals jostle instead of harmonically straddling melodies. A gentle reminder is needed; in order to be atmospheric, you at first need to create an atmosphere.
The Fever Logic
(Not Not Fun)
Heavy, wasted, doomy, funereal vibes on this grey slab of electronic unease. Although Californian Brian Pyle beachcombs for fun, his brooding music creates a feeling more like doing blindfolded potholing.
Millions Now Living Will Never Die
A reissue on blue vinyl of the 1996 second album from the Chicago post-/experimental-/ kraut-rockers. Revisit their sprawling sound exploration, ‘Djed’, which somehow manages to stir up grungey/ chill-out and also jazzy 90s vibes all in the space of its 21minutes.
Ever-inventive, collaboration-loving modern composer Nico Muhly (his LA Dance Project score will soon be seen as part of the EIF) writes an album for ‘the original synthesiser’, that is, the pipe organ. With a mix of gorgeous and dull results. Eerie, austere, churchy tones alternate with warmer, frenzied bursts.
From the same dark, brutalist minimalist school of electronic music/ avant-techno as Ben Frost,Raime and co, Vainio unsettles with this creepy, bleepy, dread-filled set.