Albums round-up - January 2014

New releases from Ásgeir, MC Almond Milk, Seneka and Thee Silver Mt Zion reviewed

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Albums round-up - January 2014

Seneka – Man Made Earthquake

(Self-released) ●●

An Englishman, an Irishman and two Scotsmen walk into a studio. They pick up their instruments, rattle out a solid rock album and head home.

Unfortunately, that feels like all it's ever going to be for Seneka. While their LP is musically tight and the group elicit both American (Gaslight, Springsteen) and Scottish (Biffy) influences, the lead vocals often appear constrained, it deviates little from convention and overall, there's the sense that a hard-hitting punchline is lacking to their narrative.

MC Almond Milk – PC WORLD MUSIC

(Self-released) ●●●

Taking a break from serious matters such as the universe's fated demise after reaching thermodynamic equilibrium (as explored on 'Ultimate Heat Death of the Universe', Conquering Animal Sound's James Scott hurls out a satirical rap LP on societal subjects, each dose dripping in levity.

Numbers produced by grnr and Scott's Carbs bandmate Jonnie Common are highlights, though disappointingly omitted is his earlier offering 'Great Cop Love Kestrel', which although comical, is the best evidence of some superb elasticated syllables being flushed through Scott's deft electronic nervous system. No joke.

Ásgeir – In The Silence

(One Little Indian) ●●●●

Converted into English by John Grant (Pale Green Ghosts), one in ten Icelanders own the native rendition of this synergy of song and poetry (sales outstripped Sigur Ros' and Bjork's debuts).

Why? As a lozenge does, cracked open it dissolves, spreading lucid calm across the brain. Its titular track or the poignant mergence of Nordic and Celtic ('Summer Guest') being its greatest examples.

It's not spotless, with some misplaced oddities scattered among its inventory, but Ásgeir has a damn good crack at being so.

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

(Constellation Records) ●●●●

The ungracefully-named seventh LP from Canada's experimental torch-raisers of scorn is a sweeping terrain, dotted with impressive instrumentals, lyrics presaging dehumanisation and a nightmare-inducing lullaby.

At times the vocal bouts from Efrim Menuck (of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) aren't pretty, but overall the LP's gloriously harrowing, vindicated by his moon-howl caterwaul chorus of ‘All our children gonna die’ on 'What We Love Was Not Enough'.

Like a birthed Monarch butterfly stretching its wings, it's vivid and transfixing, but with a blackness about it like a poisonous bite of despair.

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra play Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tue 25 Feb.

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