After repeatedly playing this album in my car while smiling widely it reminds me how I first got into music, this album of perfectly placed tracks will leave you wanting more. There are no fillers or crazy “let’s make a quick buck” tracks, if anything this is what they used to call a concept album.
By Martin Frank
The name Blood Choir may leave you thinking it’s some thrash band with some screaming guitars and a crashing, thumping drum beat but like Massive Attack but their name doesn’t describe them. Their music is gentle, haunting, epic and dreamy at times and there is so much atmosphere that you could make Mars habitable. What Robin Maddicott and Joe Mountain have achieved here is without a doubt remarkable. Houses of the Sun is a ten-track album, coming six years after their last album No Windows to the World but it is worth the wait.
The opening title track Houses of the Sun sets the scene¸ an echoing, epic sounding piece dominated by the poetry of Robin’s voice – it’s brooding and calmly invites us into the world of The Blood Choir. It feels open, wild and unrushed as if you’re on the coast of a never ending beach, and as the song builds, the drums fill the sound like a heart-beat that will leave you gently swaying like the tide lapping the sand beneath your feet.
Cold Waves follows simply with a haunting voice and a piano. These are pure, exact, highly polished tracks that are eerily beautiful and would be at home in any Kubrick seventies horror, taking you to remote places. They are influenced a little by Nordic music, and deliver a combination of Scandinavian tension, with hints of Pink Floyd and Yes in their own way. Horseback is synthesised; it’s a little prog rock, a little New Order with evocative lines like “I have no memory of you” drawing you in and making you want to know more. Outward Travel Must Not Be In The Past is so wonderfully tense and understated again with piano and vocals, it takes you places that you don’t want to be alone. “Forgive me daughter I cannot go in” are words that add even more drama to the track.
There is so much about this album that’s inspired; the combination of guitars, synthesizers, piano, the fact that they’re not trying to be somebody else or shying away from a style is refreshing. White Bear has shades of Kraftwerk and is a masterpiece that’s both new and spookily familiar.
This album needs exposure to show the masses that there’s more to music than the charts, and more to albums than singles. This is grown up music at its best, it’s a grower and a stayer but we need more from The Blood Choir, this album needs to be a start of something because I think they have even more to come.
House of the Sun is available now.