Tuesday, July 11, 2006

VARIOUS: The World Is Gone (XL Recordings)

VARIOUS
The World Is Gone
XLCD204
XL Recordings 2006
12 Tracks. 46mins52secs



VARIOUS The World Is Gone (XL Recordings)

Buy it: CD | LP
Various | XL Recordings

Difficult to find more vague a name for a band than Various. One can only imagine the headache of finding anything relevant on Amazon or Google. That is however the disconcerting choice that have made this enigmatic act. Having released three impeccable singles in the last few months, Various found themselves amidst a battle of A&Rs and labels, including Leaf, Warp and Planet Mu apparently, all fighting for the privilege of bringing them to a wider audience. Having finally signed with XL Recordings, the band are now unleashing their magnificent debut album.

Covering their tracks actually seems to be one of this band’s favourite pass times if The World Is Gone is anything to go by. While the general context is definitely electronic and highly confiscated, Various are found dabbling in gentle folk or urban beats with equal ease and enthusiasm. The band’s template is not new (two main members, only known as Adam and Ian, with revolving guest vocalists), yet the resulting work is at once unique and universal. The album opens with the heavy duty Thunnk, which casts a rather dark shadow right from the first shards of distorted strings and continues to cloud over all the way through. Hater, Soho, Sir or Sweetness demonstrate equally acute futuristic awareness. Various craft incredibly dense and oppressive, yet surprisingly minimal, structures on which vocals become entangled and eventually completely assimilated. Elsewhere, the pair adopt a far lighter approach. On the wonderfully evocative Circle Of Sorrow, Deadman or Fly, they let melodies circles above spaced percussions and lonely acoustic guitars with incredible grace, evoking the delicate folk of Fairport Convention much more than the suffocating electronica of Aphex Twin

Already one of the most talked-about record of the year, The World Is Gone is likely to rapildy catch about everything in its way and will surely end up riding high on the end-of-year lists. Various are the only new act you will need in 2006!

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