(Out Nov 10th on Denovali Records)
SOMERSET POST-ROCK VETERANS BLUENECK have seen their fair share of new kids on the underground-block. Four critically acclaimed albums over 14 years and the scene they helped to develop has moved from the truly unknown, to the relatively familiar. Pioneered by the likes of Talk Talk and Slint, before bands such as Mogwai and Swans got their grubby paws all over it, this is a genre destined to remain in the shadows, despite its recent re-emergence.
Despite the history what we’re listening to here isn’t hugely modernised, but it retains that sense of self-examination to intrigue, building into something wholly accessible. Take opener Counting Out with it’s piano motif, haunting vocal and uplifting aura, it’s an exposed lesson in yearning, similar to the sort of soundscapes only Sigur Ros are capable of. While Sirens and an oblique title track are as austere and weather-beaten as the vacant artwork.
Blueneck create dark and un-inviting alleyways of sound that bare witness to the most sinister underbelly of modern life. Noir-ish scores for several independent ovies suggest this groups vision is to inform rather than entertain, guide rather than follow. It makes for a world without joy, but one that is no less meaningful or significant than the next tiresome impersonator. The first play of Man of Lies should convince you of that, before the stark electronica surrounding Father, Sister suggests this crew just might be on the edge of something significant, finally. Despite a dip in momentum towards its close, King Nine is another bold and resourceful step forward for a band neck deep in the morose and mournful. It can be a compelling place to be. (7)