Review: Sketches For Albinos – Fireflies And The Dead City Radio

Sketches For Albinos is a nom de plume used by composer Matt Collings for one of his many side-projects. The tracks here are intended to signify a time in Collings’ life “where euphoric joy and devastating sadness collided”. The feelings evoked tend to veer towards the latter than the former but ‘Fireflies And The Dead City Radio’ is definitely an album which demands a period of concentrated listening to appreciate its true worth.

Sketches For Albinos Album Cover

At once it is possible to recognise this is the work of Collings as certain commonalities exist between his solo album ‘Splintered Instruments’ and the recent long player by The Graveyard Tapes. Layers of ferociously strummed guitars and frantic piano characterise ‘I Have So Many Things I’ve Always Wanted’; the effect is akin to being helpless on board a runaway train. ‘I Think We Grew Again’ is even more disorientating, as what appears to be a collapsing drum kit is merged with haunting ambient minimalism and snatches of dialogue.

As the album plummets further into the darkness, ‘February With The Wolves And Angels’ increases the chill factor with a sea of alien noise and public information samples, then seguing to the distinctly shoegaze-flavoured walls of ‘Submerged Cathedrals’ and a beautifully fragmented and desolate ‘The Sailor In The City Is Buying Up Time’. By the end of the record we have also heard what could have been recorded remnants from Talk Talk drummer Lee Harris (on ‘She Drew A Pentagon) whilst ‘Piani Fingers’ throbs and distorts its way to a sombre and eventually restful end.

Once again Collings proves his worth with the latest in a spate of releases bearing his name. The moniker this time may suggest these are extra tracks which weren’t deemed to be worth of inclusion on other recordings but that is obviously not the case and instead Collings merely emphasises his skills with creating an experience so appealing and dynamic from something which should sound so dissonant.

Web Sites:
Sketches For Albinos Bandcamp
Mini50 Records Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Matthew Collings, The Graveyard Tapes, Hood

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