There is a rather piffy argument that art can not be great unless it is loved by the masses, but as the year steadies itself for another X-factor
winner roll out, consisting of GMTV
appearances and headline news stories, the gulf between reality star and traditional artist forging forward on their own steam is now more
apparent than ever.
The masses will not like Alex Sheilds’ brain-child A Grave With No Name (a
solo effort on record and that of three on the live stage)
does that make what they do any less worthwhile? Well,
several spins of ‘Mountain Debris’ alludes that the answer should be a loud
and definitive No! There are other albums out there that will gain more column inches,
and will be talked about at water coolers, but there are not many that will resonate with those it touches quite so well.
Overall contemplative and haunting, it takes
several spins before the album’s full depths and stark beauty can be fully discovered.
Opener ‘The Sun Rises’ sets the mood; an icy Sigur Ros style sound bed, rich in atmospheric percussion and swooshing guitars, it should have BBC
soundtrack selectors for
Top Gear foaming at the ears. Yet though this track closely embraces the
hallmarks of another artist, Shields is not merely content with replicating the past glories of other
and presenting them afresh in slightly different packaging. Instead he has searched through the rubble of yesterday and pulled out the
turning these parts into building blocks and melting them together with his own distinctive blend of concrete.
‘And We Parted at Mount Jade’ sees him dramatically shift track, pull out the distortion pedals, turn everything up a notch and fully embrace the spirit of shoe-gaze.
The influence of the genre’s most high profile and now once again hip exponent, My Bloody Valentine,
is there on full parade during ‘Silver’ where melodic gliding vocals dive under a sea of driving fuzzed up guitar.
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