In November of 2012 Paul McLaney released his first album as The Impending Adorations, Gestalt. By April of 2013 he’d readied Intentions and now, already, we have Further; the third in what he has set out as a four-album set.
Further starts with the loping 10-minute opener, Canon; it perhaps aims to consolidate, link back to – and define – this new canon of song/song-style he’s created. It’s a very conscious reference to the previous albums; that same sound-world; clipped beats that thrum with the tiny glitches of static, clicks and ticks – that feel like songs carved from the rubble of love songs past. Here he opens with a declaration that “where was once the constant urge to travel/Now exists the strong desire to stay”. The happy father and husband likes being homebound and it’s clearly not intruding on his creativity; certainly it’s not slowing him down.
This prolific period for McLaney has at first seen him almost shrugging off his musical past as Gramsci and then as Paul McLaney – sometimes a laptop guy, sometimes a full band man, sometimes the acoustic folky/folksy troubadour type. As Further plays out the sounds start to bend back to what we once knew from McLaney. Much as I loved Intentions and Gestalt (click those links above to read my reviews of the two previous albums), Further does indeed take things, well, further. From the 10-minute opener we move toward what can more obviously be defined as songs, they’re almost – at times – pop songs.
By the time of Helping Hand – with its almost-Streets of Philadelphia feel (perhaps if cut-up by Burial, slowed, blurred and featuring a guest Jono McCleery vocal) – we have song-shaped songs. That hasn’t always – or often – been the case by The Impending Adorations.
As Further rolls out – through The Thought of You and closer Over The Oceans, McLaney has almost returned back to the familiar sounds of himself as Gramsci/as Paul McLaney. It’s taken the two previous albums to forget the rules, make new ones and now that defining voice returns to itself, to appear as itself.
This is a good thing. The aural prose-poems of the first two (and a half) records end up moving towards the best songs/the best music of McLaney’s career.
That means album number four should be an absolute cracker!
No pressure, of course.
If you’ve liked the other two you’ll like this. If you like the sound of this then you might as well collect the set. Wonderful stuff.