The Blood Choir channel darkness on Houses of the Sun

Blood Choir - Houses of the SunAnglo-Danish duo Robin Maddicott and Joe Mountain formed The Blood Choir in Bristol in 2009. By 2012 the band released their debut LP No Windows to the Old World via Independent Records Ltd. Operating between Denmark and the UK could lend support to the longevity between records but nevertheless, The Blood Choir are back with a new record, their first in 6 years: Houses of the Sun.

The Blood Choir are masters of building eerie atmosphere, and opening track "Houses of the Sun" begins with vocals over drone-like synths that soon explode with dirty sounds that echo industry and machinery. Similar effects are trumped in "Cold Waves", albeit more a mirror to Thom Yorke-style vocals over minimal Kid A styles. But it's third song and lead single "The Boat" that is a much more exciting musical affair and lifts the album. Dual vocals sit proudly upon a wealth of noise confusion and the first clear signs of guitar sounds. Here the band show their musical wealth, but also melodies and hooks, something the band should capitalise on; though you feel they would rather experiment with the dark and the strange.

"Switching Off the Perfume Garden" sees the duo bring the piano to light, over electronic beats, and emotive driven guitar, while "Horse Back" provides an intense, The X Files interlude. It's clever and works well amalgamated with their post-rock noise.  Final track "Tide" has crystal clear vocals and rare glimpse into a world of melody rarely explored here. But like other songs before, the repetition of lyrics that struggle to carry any weight of meaning tend to leave you forgetting what it is they’re trying to say.

This album will charm the downbeat and dark-hearted, but it's a hard listen at times. Even when the duo finds beauty with tender piano tones, they either build on their creepy atmosphere, or it's an immediate explosion to the ears like a shotgun blast. As the album nears the end, the noise just gets stranger and more intense. There are some standout tracks to discover and get lost in on Houses of the Sun - it's just not a record for the faint-hearted music lover.

Release: 22nd June 2018, Village Recordings

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