Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is Night People - (2008)

Originally released as the band's first cassette, then re-released on CD by the Swedish Release the Bats label, Is Night People shows that from the start, Raccoo-Oo-Oon looked upon everything from gothy blues to blissout feedback to Japanoise and thought, "Let's use it." Which they do on this short but enjoyable debut; often extremely loudly. Starting with the short, chaotic "Brain Loot," what Raccoo-Oo-Oon did at this stage most of all was work on a simple but effective formula: make things simultaneously as overloaded and as accessibly enveloping as possible. It's not quite the kind of combination that, say, Bardo Pond have perfected; instead of an agog majesty Raccoo-Oo-Oon here aim at a gentle war in the head. Even when the murky voices float in towards the end of "Fluff Up Your Fur," the effect is one of serene uneasiness rather than just plain creep-out. While the full white noise approach at the end of "Call out Your Friends" works, it's the combinations on tracks like "Stamped from the Stump," where there's just enough of a processional feeling that gets complemented by the swirling collage of vocal overdubs later on. "Uh-Oh," the album's second cut, is also the best, started with an unexpected, beautiful fusion of crisp, martial beats and a simple but lovely surge of building shoegaze-via-Mogwai guitar. As it progresses, everything in the arrangement gets a bit busier — buried singing and shouts, more percussion hits, what sounds like a cascading screech of a dying theremin — even as the base of the song remains a solid anchor. It feels like a triumphant march into the future, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. (

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