There was a time when musicians and the music that they make, were largely processed, packaged and pigeon-holed into neat boxes and within lines of sonic demarkations. A rocker was a rocker, a popster was a popster, and never the twain should meet. Thankfully, we have grown out of such childish attitudes and today’s artist is free to pick and chose, garner and gather their inspirations and influences wherever they might find them.
It is in such an environment that Dominions of Glue thrive. I’m not saying that they couldn’t have made an album such as The Great Expansion during an earlier era, but it would have probably confused the hell out of most people. Which, in a way, is better. But I digress.
Eclectic, that’s the word. Not that the album doesn’t ring with a complementary sound or that all the songs don’t feel part of the same musical canon, here the eclecticism seems to be working at a more core level and in turn that love of eclecticism makes for a very concise sound. I think I might be confusing myself now.
But, to business. Mind Train is built on a post-punk funkiness, echoing the likes of The Pop Group or perhaps Talking Heads and It Clicks is chock full of gloriously fuzzy basslines, tribal beats and incendiary shards of guitar noise. I Sit in His Chair sees Don Mandarin’s vocals twisted into more hellish forms whilst everyone’s favourite Eighteenth Dynasty, Egyptian revolutionary religious reformer, Akhenaten, is found surrounded by sparse and exotic swathes of chaotic and caustic sound.
Dominions of Glue pick and mix the various sounds and styles that they work with from any number of sources,particularly favouring plenty of post-punk creativeness, Krautrock drive and post-rock rule swerving. But even within these confines, they often seem to be testing the boundaries of how far they can push structure and melody before it turns into somewhere else altogether, though always remaining surefooted enough to stay on the right side of the line between order and chaos. Well, mostly.
Many bands profess to be doing something new or try to just throw various styles together and in the hope that something sticks. The Great Expansion is cleverer than that, this is experimentation, and I’m sure there is a lot going on here that was just improvised in the studio, with comforting doses of familiarity as a backbone. The building blocks are familiar but what they are used to build, the glorious sonic architecture that leaves you slightly awestruck is what makes this album more than a bit special.
Genres? Who needs them?