Boa Morte – The Total Space – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Boa Morte have returned with almost indecent haste, only three and a half years after their last album ‘Before There Was Air’ with their fourth album, ‘The Total Space’. Created over various lockdowns, the band sound as strong as ever before on this, a very layered, intricate album. First track proper is the uplifting Mountain sung by a languid-sounding Paul Ruxton over liquidy guitar lines, and just when you think it’s over, it ends with a gorgeous minute-long synth coda. The folky Dark Is, which follows, features more fine guitar work. The relatively simple strum By The Time, builds gradually into a kind of symphonic crescendo. Here drummer Maurice Hallisey, unlike most drummers, he avoids the obvious, just inserting various drum fills to add texture rather than propulsion, leading into the dead slow beauty of Hard To Know.
Things take a bit of a turn with the retro-sounding synth instrumental Jan 1 2020. After this, Cormac Gahan takes vocal duties on Under Stars, along with a gorgeous contribution by Hilary Bow, a track which expands into a tapestry of interweaving guitars with even a bit of banjo thrown in. It’s followed by the blissed-out Already Run, which expands into an almost euphoric passage of keyboards and guitar, and a blissed-out coda. A Cloud of Stars is full of ambient sounds and scratchings, and despite the disparate elements, it really works. Also, very much in the ambient vein is the very downbeat A Riverside, with plenty of brass and random sounds. The album finishes up with the title track, the longest and probably most fully realised piece here, with more percussion fills in a gorgeous piano coda.
All of their albums are described as ‘slow-burners’, this one certainly is. On the one hand, it almost feels like one continuous piece, but every time you listen to the album you hear something new. For want of a better term, this is a headphones album, depending on your perspective either a folky album with ambient bits or a full-on excursion into the folkier side of ambient. What it boils down to is their best album to date.
Hard To Know
Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music
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