It must be the Holiday season! Because nothing says happy times like the lyrics “To understand the killer / I must become the killer / and I don’t need this violence anymore / but now I’ve tasted hatred I want more”! Yuletide joy! Well, perhaps not, but definitely sonic joy. The preceding twistedness was brought to you by Nick Talbot, AKA Gravenhurst. Signed to Warp Records, Gravenhurst has released an astonishing album in Fires In Distant Buildings. Dark as an evening in the Arctic Circle and almost as icy, Fires ranges from the early Stereolab meets Pale Saints you-got-your-krautrock-in-my-shoegaze-no-you-put-your-shoegaze-in-my-krautrock brilliance of “The Velvet Cell”, from whence the above lyric line was poached (and which is so good it's reprised later on in the album), to down-tempo neo-folk a la Kings Of Convenience and Turin Brakes on tracks like “Nicole” and “Animals” to the experimental rock explosion of album opener “Down River”. Words do not do Fires justice, however; long-term immersion is necessary to glean the true beauty and depth of Talbot’s sinister body of work. Just don’t get too involved, lest the lyrics take hold and lead to a far more troubling end result.
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