06 October 2014 (released)
22 November 2014
Like the idea of a dash of Genesis, dollops of Michael Nyman, a soupçon of Beatles and traces of folk? Well the Einar Stray Orchestra have blended all those here in this curious album. It’s the Norwegian five piece’s second and sees them experimenting with different textures, and soundscapes which while technically impressive is sometimes not that memorable.
Starting on a positive note opener Honey is long, dark but lush track, of varying moods and swings. There’s a palpable grimness about this track and it grips to the end. It’s a shame that the band never really reach those heights again. The single and title track while big on the strings and pleasant enough just slips by, as does a good proportion of the tracks here.
Interest picks up with Thrasymachus with its incessant beats and Montreal’s pacey drive is a welcome shot in the arm, with some exquisite harmonies. Qualia is another lengthy track that teeters on the edge but doesn’t quite manage to take the leap.
There’s a lot to admire here as the performances are uniformly excellent in particular the harmonies and vocals, and with a complementary production it sounds fantastic. The main problem is that other than a few tracks it just doesn’t engage very well. There’s a distance in the music that makes it hard to really enjoy and as such it’s a pleasant enough album though maybe not one that will bear up to repeated plays.