Folks, We are going to take you on a little journey here, a journey into the darkest depths of the inner mind’s eye. A place where the only vestiges of hope and light are distant memories, a place where your darkest thoughts live and thrive, a place where time seemingly stands still.
This record really should come with a disclaimer something like: ‘caution, may cause hallucinations, paranoia, dark thoughts and can be dangerous to your health and those around you’. That’s how I feel after locking myself in a dark cold room and putting this album on. Make sure you have a lifeline to the outside world before you put this on because you are entering a space you may never come back from. Make sure you know someone loves you and they are close by. Actually – have that at all times if you can – we recommend that, and this record.
This record is the new Tales Of Murder And Dust. A band of people that have evolved and shaped a sound for themselves that may be a bit familiar to those who are into neo-psych – and those proud and few (but yearly growing) know that these guys (and sometimes girl) were the first on the scene really playing this kind of music. Back then – their debut e.p., Peyote – (2009) was hard to define in the local scene. Gaffa and Soundvenue loved it – but what was it? Was it post-rock? Shoegaze? Was it acid rock? Psych? In 2009 you could count on one hand the number of bands in Denmark that Tales would even fit on a bill with – my how times have changed. Nowadays it seems like acid rock is all over radio and festival circuit, Shoegaze is now a term you might hear while shopping in H&M, and here are Tales – still making life difficult for music listeners – and still putting out masterpieces that totally justify over 2 years of silence since their last record “Skeleton Flowers”
What makes this album great is that it holds together as a piece. It’s an album, meant to be listened to in its entirety, in the track order selected by the band. It’s not a concept, beyond being a cohesive statement, but a fully intentional expression of where the band is at in 2015. It is a modern rock record, dutifully mixing together influences from everything that came before it, but not relying on nostalgia or kitsch, like so many other bands of their very broad soundscape do. How does one hash tag Tales? #psych-post-rock-drone-horrorfilm-ambient-shoegaze-noise-doom-folk-monastic-core…? I mean…Help!
The Flow In Between opens with “Tidal Wave” – an over 9 minute opus with a drone opening – there is so much going on here with nods to eastern music styles, monastic chanting, old-timey Appalachian music – it could be some kind of Bollywood horror film set in the old west – without the dancing and winking of course. Typical of Tales – the overall vocals (which are infinitely layered here) take a seat along the epic music accompanying it – sitting in a balance – yet one has to almost physically lean forward to hear what is going on. Sonically this is just what it says – a tidal wave of sound that builds and pulses, deadly and powerful.
The wave gives in to light jabs and an almost ‘tribal-meets-glam’ beat in “Black Reflections”. This is kind of the closest you are going to get to a tune to dance to here – if by dancing you mean downing a bottle of codeine and letting your bones rattle to the rhythms. “Black Reflections” furthers the mood with guitars being doubled by violin and waves of synths bubbling up behind the expansive soundscape.
Tales has always been a band where several members share lead vocal duties – “The Devil Is A Poet” sounds like Kristoffer Vilsgaard’s turn at the “mic”. This track stands out a little from the rest – in a good way – here you can actually hear a song being put through the mix. It’s a little more folky and actually has riffs and, if you dare – the easiest to ‘sing along to’. It’s still dark and trippy.
“Mirror” sounds like classic Tales – revamped – almost like a drugged up war chant, with female vocals rising and ascending behind the instrument’s passage. It has a raga feel, like if Sonic Youth were from somewhere on the Indian sub-continent. “Mirror” slides easily into my personal favorite on this record: “Sisters” – a track the band teased us with a few months ago. “Sisters” is a powerful and doomy piece that ends in an absolutely chilling death of plucked violin and guitar that gives me goose bumps every damn time I hear it. Again, it feels like a track that should be played in the last scene of a very violent horror film, where the killer gets away and leaves a naked hottie bleeding to death in an abandoned barn in the desert. Evil is the only way I can fully describe it without cheapening the mood. “Sisters” is pure genius – it’s creepy, anthemic and harrowing.
The last portion of the 7 song album ends with another folky Kristoffer driven “Distorted Ways” – a tune that Tales has been playing live (or had been) the last few times they performed in Aarhus – another surprisingly folky song, drawing on a Celtic or even druid-type feel with eastern instruments softly ringing out in the right speaker – and ends with “Endless Repetition” – the final breath of the beast that is “The Flow In Between” – another drone laden minor piece with descending passages and deep layers of distortion, folk instruments and dark vocals. This track has some surprisingly syncopated rhythm stabs in the middle section, which give a positive lift to the song.
Prove me wrong if you must, but I’m going to say that this is the best rock album ever to come out of Jutland in my miserable lifetime. Fuck me right? It’s by far my favorite Danish album this year, as of September. There I said it. Now – the depressing part for anyone that loves good music is that this band is NOT currently signed to a label, this band is probably NOT going to receive hourly airplay, this record will probably NOT get any awards from mainstream media outlets, and this band will probably NOT be playing to 20,000 people in a sports arena next summer. I fucking hope I’m wrong on some of this – this record deserves to be heard by anyone who likes good music. Full stop. Currently I don’t think the band even knows how this record will and when come out or get to your ears – but hopefully everyone else will catch on to how great I firmly believe this record is. Let’s get behind it.
They play tonight at RADAR with the Warlocks and Brahma-Loka at Radar – until then – you can stream it here on YouTube: