Sunday, 4 December 2011

Radio For The Daydreamers - Praying For The Be(a)st

So, back in the wonderful and frightening world of experimental post-rockers Radio For The Daydreamers we are gifted with the second part of the triptych Praying For The Be(a)st with the album of the same name. Our hero, having delved into the depths of his dark psyche on Mother Superior And Her Fields Of Migraines now attempts to come to terms with his inner turmoils by further withdrawal into the self, questioning every aspect of his existence. If that does not sound healthy, it probably isn't, and lines like "No more stab wounds in my arms. He will give me drugs to keep, He will give me nights to sleep." from the opening song We Are Only Safe Before Sunrise only serve to confirm it.

Musically the minimalism of the Mother Superior is continued, and more deliberately off tuned guitar sleepwalks through Wasted Faces In Secret Places. The following song Don't Give Up On Me Yet, Dad is actually almost symphonic and uplifting, as a shred of humanity is still there in the protagonist's soul. Bloodlights (Oh I Sleep) sees a very scary and goosebump inducing narration of a man in the depths of downer induced sleep-like-molasses  nightmares..."through empty skies, that weep and bloody lights, you hide" slurs our hero to a backdrop of This Mortal Coil meets Faust (a very appropriate reference point, even if in name only) at their most Gothic played at one-third speed. Don't play this song in the dark!

Prog Jazz (All musicians are freaks) lifts things up with some club jazz meets Aphex Twin beats and is, dare I say it, sprightly! Of course it was too good to last, and we're back in the Slough of Despond with When You Die, which has a very odd rhythm track, and more very slightly de-tuned and reverbed guitars. Unlike the previous album this de-tuning malarkey seems to work and is not simply irritating, maybe because of the increased production values evident on this album. To Rid The Be(a)st is a hellish vaudeville alt-country number from the Seventh Ring, continuing the horror movie soundscapes. Necrosis Stupor is not the torpid affair you might have expected from the title and returns to the jazz vibe....mmmm...nice.

Piano features heavily throughout the album and the player's jazz style contrasts nicely with the pervading air of menace, particularly on Curl Up, Time To Die (When Jazz Ate My Soul), which has a bass line right out of the Jah Wobble textbook. No-one Comes Here But Me goes all Sigur Ros and dreamy and is a welcome calm and beautiful interlude. The strange voices at the beginning of Freelance Dream Killing Machine remind me of the café scene from The Faust Tapes, but this is soon eclipsed by more woozy off kilter guitar chords, chiming like gargantuan bells from Mordor. Very strange.

The final three tracks of this sprawling be(a)st of an album, all 72 minutes of it, are entertaining enough, but seem like an afterthought, and the album would have been more concise with them left off in my opinion, and it would have been somehow fitting to have ended on the abject terror of We, The Howling Damned.

Is this whole triptych a story of suffering through depression, possibly drawn from experience? If it is then fair play to the band for taking on such a grim subject and expressing it so well. On the other hand if one ignores the somewhat pretentious statements that accompany this band (and I'll bet they would hate to be called "prog") and just take the album as a musical experience you will find a bewildering variety of styles to get lost in. An altered state trawl through the dusty cobweb strewn nooks and crannies of the psyche that are best left alone, this album sometimes feels like a mushroom trip with its rollercoaster ride up to blissful heights one minute, plunging to the pits of skin-crawling terror the next. Just don't play it if your feeling a bit desperate, that's all!

1. We Are Only Safe Before Sunrise (5:01)
2. Wasted Faces In Secret Places (3:05)
3. Don't Give Up On Me Yet, Dad  (3:30)
4. Glowing Like Angels, You Are On Fire (1:55)
5. Ghosts Keep Me Safe, While You Are Gone (3:07)
6. Neither Of Us Will Live On (4:22)
7. Bloodlights (Oh I Sleep) (5:22)
8. Hours Of The Night (1:24)
9. Prog Jazz (All musicians are freaks) (2:56)
10. When You Die (4:32)
11. To Rid The Be(a)st (5:32)
12. Necrosis Stupor (2:13)
13. Curl Up, Time To Die (When Jazz Ate My Soul) (4:10)
14. No One Ever Comes Here, But Me (4:36)
15. Freelance Dream Killing Machine (4:42)
16. We, The Howling Damned (1:55)
17. Treacherous (4:44)
18. 30 Pieces Of Silver (4:03)
19. Knife Party (4:40)

Line up:
Again, the mystery is maintained...I've still not a clue...

No more marking!!!

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