Friday, 25 January 2013

GRUMBLING FUR - Furrier(2011, Aurora Borealis)

drowned in sound: Grumbling Fur consist of Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Guapo, Mothlite, Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses), Antti Uusimaki (Mothlite, Panic DHH), Jussi Lethisalo (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord), David Smith (Guapo, Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses, The Stargazer's Assistant, Amal Gamal) and Alexander Tucker (Alexander Tucker) ... The result of a day-long improvisation, Furrier starts quietly with the first few tracks comprising of hazily claustrophobic loops, gleaming guitar drones, subtly processed chimes, noises reminiscent of somebody running their wet finger around the edge of a half empty wine glass, and some unobtrusive, wraithlike vocals. After this humble beginning, the scattering jazz drum intro of ‘Curling Hides’ acts as the real starting pistol and from this point the Fur engage themselves in an accomplished and also very English take on Krautrock. Their hypnotic grooves seem to be complemented and to some extent grounded by sentimental evocations of England’s rural as well as its industrial past. Imagine Faust or Can having a jam whilst lost somewhere in the Pennines on a damp, grey day just as their Kendal mint cake kicks in. 
‘Bears Wandering into Milky Chapel’ perhaps takes matters a little too far. The lengthiest track by far, its shimmering guitars seem too shy and uninspired, its loud, prominent symbols a little distracting. Flat, directionless and indulgent, it takes a long time to decide where it wants to go, and this destination eventually turns out to be some sinister but slightly silly drone-metal vocals. Elsewhere, however, it is all pulled off rather comfortably. The drums are at times nautical brushstrokes, at others a pulsating, motorik engine, and during ‘Siberian Priest’ there’s even some fairly unembarrassing bongos. Guitars flicker between dense drones, chugging strides, and lighter, pastoral subtleties. The chanting, choral vocal parts work better than the occasional growling, though most of this is low enough in the mix not to distract or interrupt. It is for the most part glued together seamlessly and skilfully by these accomplished and admirable, if not 'exceptionally successful', players. All in all, a fur-oughly enjoyable record.

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