Houses of the Sun –  The Blood Choir (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

DZ3Bg8_XkAEEeaNMusical things I like: Songs that are swept through with epic drama. Chilled electronica. Understated guitar work. Ambient gothic intrigue. Pretty much everything that came out on the 4AD label. Bands who create rather than follow fashion. Rock bands willing to mix and match classic sounds with eclectic potential. Musical things I love: At the moment there isn’t much higher up the list than this new album from The Blood Choir. Why? Because any band who can tick pretty much all of those boxes in the space of a 5 minute opening track is always going to impress the hell out of me.

Its been 6 years since No Windows to the Old World first walked amongst us but Houses of The Sun is well worth the wait, blending, as it does, Floydian soundscapes and mercurial Talk Talk-esque song structures, gentle balladic deliveries and seering guitars washes of keyboards and plaintive pianos and just as crucially space, atmosphere and anticipation.

Tracks such as the wonderfully named Outward Travel Must Not Be in the Past seem to exist as broken musical fragments drifting gently past on the edge of consciousness and at the other extreme The Boat is a full blown celebration of post-punkery made over for a new, less tribal generation. And whilst these two tracks show the extreme points of the scope and depth of the song crafting, it is the fact that rather than take a polarised position on such a sonic scale they are adept at wandering such extreme musical pathways within the same song.

White Bear is a chilled gothic anthem interspersed with jagged riffs and ethereal, fallen angel harmonies, Simon’s Beach is a slow burning, brooding and glitchy journey towards oblivion and the title track and opening salvo itself grows from distant, half heard noise to a cavernous crescendo.

It’s a majestic album, there is no other word for it, one that sweeps and broods, whispers and screams, caresses and frightens, attacks and atones…sometimes all within one song. It’s been a long wait guys but if that is the price we have to pay for such an album, then so be it.

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