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The Quiet In The Land (Timshel)

By • Mar 9th, 2012 • Category: long players

Andrew Howie has seen many musical changes since he released his debut single, the Peel-favourite ‘White Light Unknow’, itself a fragile mystery of love and oblivion, a stark piece of pop genius lightly sprinkled with atmospherics.

Since then he’s flitted between downright experimental (a 3” CD left on park benches and pubs for people to discover) and pop (the recent album Each Dirty Letter which picked up reviews across the mainstream press). He’s even done an album of covers, Jesus Is For Losers, which just about surmounted the pitfalls of such a theme by using the likes of Lou Reed and Mark Eitzel as source material.

Quiet In The Land, somehow, ties together all these threads, even from the opening 18 seconds, a sample where we’re told “There’s no such place as hell” – a kind of anti-Wiz.

But the difference between this and his recent more commercial releases is typified the dirty visceral sound that he’s got on opening track proper ‘Call Your King’ which is driven by electronic percussion and eventually subsumed by noise until Howie’s clear voice cracks and he says “I surrender”.

The title track follows and is probably what we call “glitchcore”, certainly with more electronics providing the backbone for the song while a whispered almost demonic voice mutters “I tried to trust you, god”. It’s like a curious cross between Depeche Mode or NIN; this is no happy clappy album, neither is it a denouncement of religion. In fact the satanic feel of the vocals makes it hard to see what’s going on. ‘Retreat’, by comparison, features Jo Mango and the voices go together to form some sort of celestial choir.

‘Hail’ – “I will hail you“ – doesn’t sound too devotional either with a muttered co-vocal delivering the pay-offline. Indeed, ‘Take Up Your Cross’ is the closest we get to a hymn, with cracked, tortured vocals like Johnny Cash in ‘Personal Jesus’ mode.

In all, an album which is at once confusing and mysterious, but an intriguing and brilliantly realised effort.

Available now as a name your price download

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  1. […] was going to post a link to a particularly negative review of mine here but I’ll send you to a recent positive one instead! (Is This Music?, […]