The Books - Lost and Safe
The Books hail from Massachusetts and build their music up from samples of ‘found sounds’ such as tapes of Salvation Army tunes, airline announcements, films, adverts, and overlaying with instrumentations. Even these instruments are hardly conventional: ‘cello, guitar, mandolin, banjo, clavinet, and some tuned plastic drainpipes.
So what does it sound like? Well strange but pleasing; quiet and laidback without being dull. References that come to mind as you play through the album are Aphex Twin; Bright Eyes, mainly due to the vocal style though there’s a touch of the feel of ‘Digital Ash…’ here; Boards of Canada; Four Tet. However, there’s a stronger organic flavour here and the use of vocals slipping in and out of samples works really well.
Where The Books fail in their comparisons is in having no truly memorable songs. The tracks are interesting and full of some very strange little ideas and samples. Interestingly, the press leaflet explains where these samples come from but the album simply lists all words spoken and sung for each track, whether they are samples or not. It isn’t something I’ve really seen before. Beyond that the package is devoid of information about the band, not even listing its members’ names.
This is a pleasant little album, both interesting to listen to and good when you need something slightly different to put on. All it lacks are some really standout tracks or strong repeated hooks.