Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Last time out with the terrific Ecstatic Arrows, Elsewhere concluded of this Manchester electronica-cum-pop group that “now is the time to tune in”.
Singer Alice Merida Richards' frosty and emotionally detached vocals sat well within the retro-futurism of the songs which shifted from art school to Goth and minimalism.
On this, their fourth album, they again push the parameters of the possible in their idiom where reference points stretch from the cool and wry angularity of Flying Lizards (OBW Saints) and a spin-off from spoken word pieces (think Yoko's Walking on Thin Ice gone electro-jazz on Moon Turn Tides) to sound collages and No Wave-meets-art disco-pop. With sax.
In other words, private LIFE takes twists and turns, often within the same piece.
However, and it is a big however, none of this seems designed to confound or banner a smarty-pants cleverness: the musical textures and directions are integrated into a whole which can be as warmly poppy as it is coolly elusive/allusive.
On a purely musical level the sounds generated by Richards and Sam Pillay are neatly shuffled from the enchanting (the beat-driven quasi-koto music on St Francis Fountain, the Enotronics of Lucky Coin which gets perilously close to a pop song) to the assertive to keep the listener alert.
“Are you still awake, I've got more to say, I've got issues to address,” says Richards on Return to View.
Right through, private LIFE ensures you will be wide awake and alert for the journey through their soundscapes.