2am Orchestra: Impermanence (DJK)

 |   |  1 min read

2am Orchestra: Delilah
2am Orchestra: Impermanence (DJK)

You'd be wise to put aside any preconceptions of what this music might sound like if you simply guessed from the band's name (dark, slow, ambient?), because David Kelley who is the mainman here aims (with a lot of help from his friends) to be nothing less than Arcade Fire with hints of mid-period Radiohead.

This is dramatic music full of intense moods -- and mood shifts -- which pulls together acoustic and electronic, strings and electric guitars. In all that it is smart, and the chosen instrumentation remains in service of the music at all times. That's the good news for modern man, we might say.

Where this falls apart for me is in the anxious lyrics which often have quasi-religious (or some lapsed faith) intent: "gather around me, soon I will be his prophet of love";  The Old Church; "let me testify to your sacred singing"; "a prayer that no one heard" and so on.

The odd archaism ("purge thy seed and move along") doesn't exactly help either, nor does the condemnatory and redemptive tone of Reflection: "if you find yourself running through fields chasing mythical characters thought to be real, there's no shame in calling my name if you want out . . ."

Nothing wrong with religious imagery per se (jeez U2 built a career out of it) but here the sheer deadly earnestness of it weighs down an album which, musically, often takes flight. And Kelley has the vocal range and musical vision to carry this off.

This album came out in 2006 I believe -- it is re-presented now because they are playing some gigs in Auckland in October to support it -- and I do wonder if Kelley has got out of his system some of these deeply personal reflections and slightly messianic thoughts ("the leper at my feet . . . I'll become Christ") and has maybe embraced a bigger and slightly more forgiving ethic.

Still, this is the only album I have ever heard which slips in "soteriology" (salvation through Christ, since you ask) into a lyric and gets away with it.

A qualified success. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells, The 2009 Stereo Mixes (Universal)

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells, The 2009 Stereo Mixes (Universal)

For some reason I largely missed the Tubular Bells phenomenon back in '73 when the album was orginally released and launched the careers of 19 year old multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield and... > Read more

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello has been at it so long now -- his debut was more than three decades ago (see Absolute Elsewhere) -- he's reached that McCartney/Clapton platform where he could do his best work in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Louisiana Red and Little Victor's Juke Joint: Memphis Mojo (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Louisiana Red and Little Victor's Juke Joint: Memphis Mojo (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Almost an octogenerian, Louisiana Red (aka Iverson Minter) has understandably become a fixture on blues circuits. Born in Alabama and his father lynched by the Klan, he once recorded for... > Read more

Easy Star All-Stars: Dubber Side of the Moon (Easy Star/Southbound)

Easy Star All-Stars: Dubber Side of the Moon (Easy Star/Southbound)

Almost a decade ago the Dub Side of the Moon album appeared and through word of mouth, then touring shows and a live DVD, the thing -- a dub take on Pink Floyd's milestone/millstone in rock --... > Read more