Australian-based label Hidden Shoal Recordings have unearthed a number of great talents around the world in recent years; specialising in genres such as ambient and post rock. With Apricot Rail, the label have stuck with their countrymen who have produced an interesting, largely instrumental debut.
It begins unremarkably. ‘Halfway House’, for all its electronic dabbling, is fairly standard post-rock with that familiar quiet-loud sound that has been done to death in recent years. ‘A Public Space’ is considerably more endearing; sure, the music swells and goes off on a few ill-advised tangents but the use of woodwind instruments provide a pastoral beauty and by third track, ‘If You Don’t Join Them, Beat Them’ the Perth outift nail an individual sound with aching melodies to the fore.
At the centre of the record is the one vocal-based track, ‘Car Crash’. It’s a great moment too as languid vocals and guitar collide into a gorgeous jangly finale with the unforgettable line “I hope you die in a car crash”. Thereafter the record enters a bit of a lull before the triumphant (and yes rather loud) powerhouse ‘The Parachute Failure’ makes itself known.
Apricot Rail’s main failing is that they insist on “rocking out” on many of their songs, which tends to undermine the gentle folk melodies that form the best parts of their music. Still, this is only their debut and the talents are clearly in evidence to develop their individual sound.
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