Laika  –  Angus McOg (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is something wonderfully Gilliam-esque about the video that accompanies Angus McOg‘s Laika, that same strange, surreal cut and paste style that used to break up the sketches of Monty Python’s Flying Circus all those years ago. But there is nothing absurd or throwaway about the music that it represents. Five years on from previous album Arnaut, Laika acts as a taste of follow up album Beginners, set for release in January next year.

And if the previous album was based around a core classic alt-folk sound, Beginners promises to be a more expansive affair, and sees the band pushing further out into new territories. Synthesisers and drum loops join the more usual acoustic sounds and the song construction is now open to instrumental flights of fancy and more dynamic sonic contrasts and the result is something more cinematic, more cosmic, more drifting, more mercurial.

This first taste is a gloriously lilting alt-pop piece, folkish at its heart but swathed in sweeping strings, chiming guitars and shimmering textures that build along slow-burning lines from simple beginnings to more rock-inspired and orchestral heights. Five years is a long time to wait for a new album, even by today’s standards, but obviously it is quality not quantity that is important and Laika suggests that Beginners is going to be well worth the wait.

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