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Plain Fade - Lies, Sanctions and Cruise Missiles CD (album) cover

LIES, SANCTIONS AND CRUISE MISSILES

Plain Fade

 

Post Rock/Math rock

2.95 | 2 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm continuing my mission to write down my first impressions on modern, little-known Finnish bands. Plain Fade is a quintet originating from Tampere and this is their debut, followed by two albums this far. Roughly a year ago I wrote about the Belgian group Battlements, and now I feel a strong similarity in the atmosphere. Melancholic post-rock with lots of contrast between fragile delicacy and anger. The leaflet doesn't tell who plays what instruments. Seems to be an ordinary rock combo with some additional strings, e.g. cello. Keyboards remain mostly in the background and yet are equally essential with anything else, as the band avoids clear lead roles in favour of the organic soundscape. Often the keys are musical box reminding electric piano. Also the guitar is mostly electric and it's not used for solistic purpose.

The long opener uses over five minutes in totally hurriless ambience before the drums raise up the tempo and everything gets louder. The voice, as if heard from a distance, is like some maniac shouting strange sentences on government, war and god. On tracks 'Blue Skies Ahead' and 'Chips Falling Where They May' the frail, high vocals comparable to SIGUR RÓS get slightly bigger role, and again there are sudden shifts from calmness to disturbing edginess. Well, this feature is perhaps turning into mannerism during the album. 'Cerebellum', where the vocals increase the sense of anxiety and desperation, uses that contrast too. By the way, the nocturnal, desolate pictures go hand in hand with the music's atmosphere as they seem to whisper urban alienation.

'Art Brut Machine' brings some needed clarity and open air in the sound. Piano plays a sad melody, almost like a Zbigniew Preisner tune from a Kieslowski film, and is accompanied by cello and some vocalization. The nearly 11-minute final title track gets its first inevitable loudness contrast very early on. Then the steady beat of a bass-drum leads the way until the playing slowly fades away somewhere in the middle of the track. And so, very slowly, with gentle guitar strumming and some additional louder moments, the album comes to the end, leaving the listener alone in silence with his/her unclarified thoughts.

Within the ambience-centred post-rock field this is a strong work even measured on an international level. It must be pointed out that it's sad, cold and very introvert. I definitely wouldn't play it on a date, or on any gathering of friends. It is music for melancholy. Maybe even as such there could have been some more rays of light...

Matti | 3/5 |

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