Review: Absent Without Leave – Faded Photographs

A a result of his last album, ‘Postcards From Nowhere’, George Mastrokostas’ proved his forte is in developing chiming guitar-based instrumentals. His place in this sub-genre is obviously well regarded since members of Hood, Epic45 and Millimetrik all lend a hand on his new album.

‘How The Winter Comes’ is serene and blissful but perhaps a little too redolent of so many dreampop acts before him. With a number of artists making this kind if music, it is important that the Greece-based musician makes his own mark and by and large, he does this successfully.

‘Old Memory Tapes’ contains the chiming guitars which Mastrokostas has favoured on past release but here the elegant synth wash and heavy beats add the kind of touches necessary to mark this album out from the pack. Similarly, the title track combines delicate, pretty melodies with a strident bass undertow whilst ‘Balloons In The Sky’ seems unremarkable at first but its insistent, repetitive chords gradually become mesmerising. However, ‘Where The Birds Fly In Winter’ is surely the standout; its languid charms embellished by bird song and busy electronica.

Though it takes a while to truly appreciate it, ‘Faded Photographs’ is a strong, atmospheric album. Like one of his collaborators, Epic45, here is music which gets under the skin by evoking romantic images of the past.

Web Sites:
Absent Without Leave MySpace

Further Listening:
Epic45, This Is A Process Of A Still Life

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