Savaging Spires - We Should Be Dead Together
Savaging Spires: the name conjures up images of circular pagan rituals - and the music lives up to the name too, evoking a pastoral, communal folk similar to the Incredible String Band, The Wicker Man soundtrack, with hints of Appalachian folk. The opening title track on this 11-tracker (which they insist is an EP), 'We Should Be Dead (Together)', successfully mixes a funereal harmonium drone and beat to soaring choral harmonies and mandolin and guitar. It's an impressive start, but the rest isn't as consistent - which is perhaps the point.
Tracks such as 'When the Devil Says He's Tape' see shards of sound weave in and out, and 'Suddenly the Bell' is reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, but both feel like experiments that jar against other tracks; by contrast, 'Drinking Moon' is pretty folk strumming with a lo-fi, demo feel. There also echoes elsewhere of Animal Collective, Tom Waits, Sparklehorse and Brian Eno, but Savaging Spires are at their best when their ramshackle rhythms and myriad instruments form into full-blooded songs, such as 'Tales of Pneumoniaaa', where clattering drums underpin a mournful piano, fuzztone guitar and distorted boy-girl harmonies.