Cranes - wings of joy

From the quiet, descending strings and woodwinds at the start of "Watersong," which launches Cranes' first proper full-length album, things are at once in sync with, and far removed from, the deep murk of the group's earliest days. The gripping, chilling atmosphere that Cranes dwell in hasn't moved an inch, but in terms of approach, it shows that on the (very well) self-produced Wings of Joy who plays the shuddering, ominous deep notes throughout, and effectively at that. Check out her opening work on "Living and Breathing." It's a simple enough pattern, but delivered in such a context that it immediately conjures up a nervous, threatening mood. , the quartet has continued to expand its palette. One thing to note is in the album credits: Matt Cope may have been initially invited in for live bass playing, but it's Alison ShawJim Shaw's relentless percussion, never overbearing but always moving with a stately, ritualistic tinge, and his piano and keyboard arrangements -- elegant and haunting at once -- set the rest of the tone. His guitar, along with Mark Francombe and Cope's credited work, adds everything from brisk, gently creepy acoustic touches to vicious electric snarl. Add Alison Shaw's almost- too-wistfully calm and sweet singing -- just missing out on easy interpretation, but suggesting so much via delivery -- and the result is what most Goth music, or any music with a sense of shadows and doom, aims for but generally misses. With songs like the epic "Adoration," and the gentler "Tomorrow's Tears" already signaling the careful variety that dominates the album thanks to their previous appearance on EPs, the new material takes center stage here. "Starblood" is the most flat-out disturbing track, with Jim Shaw's slow-paced, pounding drums and Alison Shaw's guitar wailing slammed up against cold slabs of feedback. The album as a whole is a beautiful, if unsettling, piece of work.

2 COMMENTS:

Loki on 8:42 am said...

loved this album at the time though it never did quite eclipse the beauty and power of the first few 12"s... all of them utter classics and worth tracking down if they haven't been re-released on CD because the B-sides are equally good and better than a lot of the non single tracks on here...

ichik on 9:52 pm said...

Thx!

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