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Flying Saucer Attack – Instrumentals 2015

Domino (Europe) / Drag City (Americas)

Flying Saucer Attack - Instrumentals 2015There was I thinking Dave Pearce (Flying Saucer Attack‘s main auteur) had retired from the music business entirely, living in some quiet corner of the countryside, content to be the only audience for his personal musings. Then out of the blue comes a whole album of instrumental fayre, a stark reminder of what makes FSA’s music so intriguing, essential even. Fifteen (title-less) sketches that play a delicate magic on your senses, a disquiet that you can’t avoid getting entangled with. The perfect accompaniment to staring off (forlornly) into the distance, perhaps, as if the sound were choreographing the wavering unrest of the landscape.

The spacey whirs of the opener certainly reassure you that Mr Pearce still has the potential to weave wonder out of next to nothing, a subtle spell that hazily shifts into the folksy finger-picking of the second track. Introspectives that languish smokily with unadorned potential; an unusual nakedness feeding off the ambiance of an empty room, then sucked into the curling comets of track three. A heat-haze of looped dovetails and climbing secondaries sawn in cascading strokes, mellow architectures that shake a dash of jaded hope on some burning horizons.

You’ve really got to take this in as a complete entity, start to finish (as Pearce suggests in the album’s notes). The flow, tension is so well-pitched, balanced, it’s definitely a journey best savoured as a whole, as each track sequentially traces the next, restlessly unfurling towards some unfathomable truth. The scarred crater of track four chorusing the divine in shimmer shot Palestine-like swells, as if its meditative milk were fed through the static hum of overhead pylons. Serious spine-tingling stuff collapsing into the shrieking heart of track six that briefly flips the coin to blunderbuss your senses with the noisier side of FSA’s persona in ruffles that slipstream back into a delay-drenched piece of Ariel Kalma-like contours.

Yeah, this is a real treat for the ears; it may be rough round the edges, but it bleeds plenty of essential FSA goodness, accents that off the cuff sincerity I for one love about the band. Even when it momentarily drops out, it seems as part of the process, a process quickly expanding on fresh sensibilities, blissful promise. There’s a great moment towards the latter end of the journey when the whole flips backward and forward simultaneously, the rub of textures seemingly rising phoenix-like from within, creating this weird kinetic sweetness, a boundary-blurring vibe that washes over you with an eerie completeness.

I might be all rose-tinted and anarchic here, but it’s amazing what Pearce can do with a detuned guitar and an echoplex; he doesn’t sound to me like he’s shifted his lo-fi aesthetic at all – hurrah! He’s still clearly captivated (obsessed, even) by the reverbration of everything, a fascination that often leaves you wondering “how the hell is he is doing that?” Yeah, anyone can layer up a guitar and gently work it over with shimmering melodics, but I think it’s the way he can suddenly pluck an imaginary landscape from it all, offer up fleeting glimpses into the psychedelic heart of things, that makes this music so special. Something the very last song clearly demonstrates, an achingly beautiful study in saturation whose mirrors reflect a mere taste of what’s to come, I’m sure.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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