• Fri, May 24, 2024

British Theatre - Dyed in the Wool Ghost


album Reviews Sep 17, 04:20pm

AKHIL SOOD Writing, like life in general, has become all about trickery and ironic detachment and


Writing, like life in general, has become all about trickery and ironic detachment and deception and a very carefully cultivated sense of superiority. But sometimes, people – and by people, I mean me and you both – just need to drop those pretences, hold their hands up, shrug, and admit – ‘You’ve bested me, you bitch.’

Like remember when you were a 13- or a 14- or a 15-year-old, and you discovered like Nirvana or Pearl Jam or Metallica or Megadeth or Iron Maiden or something for the first time? And now, that innocent delight you used to get while discovering new music just isn’t there anymore? It’s still quite a thrill, just that it’s tarred with a cynicism developed through years of misplaced wisdom? It’s just not the same, right?

Well, British Theatre (Mike Vennart, Richard A Ingram/Gambler), with their experimental electro/guitar/something sound, have somehow managed to cut across the bullshit to create that fragile and most elusive of emotions: Of innocence – where there may or may not be tons of shitty things to point out or worry about, but there’s also really no need to do that either; it’s not important.

The middle section of ‘As the Leaves are to the Limbs’, with its delicate sounds of tentative exhilaration, is British Theatre in its very essence. A purring and sincere guitar line opens up a route to glorious avenues with multiple sounds and textures and a quite stunning vocal melody wandering about, leaving one suitably overwhelmed as the song makes a measured exit. Actually, each piece on this phenomenal five-song EP showcases different facets of the band – from a searching vocal delivery over an impeccably produced glitchy canvas (‘The Gift’s Demands’) to the very introspective atmosphere of ‘Give A Man Enough Rope And He Will Hang Us’, a song which really explodes with the impact it makes once it’s over and fully registered, to the entirely textural and probing ‘Helicopters’.

In fact, the underlying theme of the album could possibly be duality – that of finding critical poise using passages of pure elation and a tense sort of melancholy – and subtlety. There’s no guitar distortion, no stretched vocal lines, no showy virtuosity which these guys undoubtedly possess (there’s a part written in 11/8 by my calculations, but even that feels completely organic). It’s sensitively crafted songwriting, with each song being its own centerpiece, yet fitting in quite perfectly into the larger narrative. 

As for the obligatory Oceansize comparison, well, there’s nothing in common, aside from the two band members (‘Oceansize are fucking dead’, to quote Gambler). And while lamenting the untimely death of that band is still a favourite pastime for this writer, and no doubt thousands of others, the fact that the peaks that those guys reached quite regularly (‘Music for a Nurse’ or ‘Oscar Acceptance Speech’, to name but a couple) are fairly commonplace here too makes it all somewhat OK, or at least much better. The one thing on Dyed in the Wool Ghost is that the songs take their time to register with their true impact, but the reward is pretty much worth it too.

Dyed in the Wool Ghost is available for streaming and purchase at http://britishtheatre.bandcamp.com/releases

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