Blueneck
Repetitions

England’s Blueneck continue the ‘tradition’ set by fellow country mates Anathema and Mick Moss’ Antimatter. The band’s newest album, Repetitions, doesn’t stray too far from 2009’s The Fallen Host; although I’d probably call this a tad more melancholic and minimalistic as the band’s post-rock roots are a bit more hidden. Instead of rambling on for 400 words, I’m going to cut the chase and spoil the ending right here, right now: If you’re into either of the two bands I mentioned in the first sentence, I recommend you’d pick this up. No questions asked. You won’t be disappointed.

Repetitions is 49 minutes of longing and melancholy, done with a calm, soothing accent that sometimes raises the volume and refers back to the band’s post-rock background with pounding percussion and rhythmic guitar work (see “Venger”, for example) but even then violence is only hinted at. Things often chill quickly on Repetitions. Blueneck’s pattern is clear, however. Song endings are reserved for an elevated awareness; a build up.

While the sound is rich in texture, the compositions rely on a minimalistic approach. The space is only filled with the necessary components, allowing the listener to drown into the strong atmosphere and purifying hardship. Duncan Attwood’s yearning voice provides a narrative whilst filling the void with a human element. In turn, Blueneck also realize that often music is enough to carry the experience, be it through guitars or the use of violin, with the piano playing just as important a role. Most of the songs actually feel more like instrumentals. “The Last Refuge” sees perhaps Attwood’s biggest role on Repetitions, with a song based around his voice. It’s also the loudest moment of the album. Throughout the album the combination of the soulful piano and Attwood’s voice brought a few flashbacks of Trent Reznor’s pain during Nine Inch Nail’s more fragile moments. That being said, even when the approach is much more modern, I’d also say that those who appreciate Steve von Till’s solo efforts will find something of worth here as well.

There are glimpses of hope and joy amidst the bleak moments. The album’s dynamics are in balance and the songs have plenty of variety, so moods and emotions change, holding the listener still and serene throughout. Repetitions ends with “Lopussa” (surprisingly meaning “at/in the end” in Finnish); a track that seems to say a personal ‘fuck it’ after all the hardships. Unlike rest of the tracks, there is no huge bang at the end, but instead the track ends it all on a more menacing note — a fade out that says something to akin how we haven’t seen the last of it. It’s really easy to actually feel Repetitions. It stays with the listener after it’s all said and done.

Thus, with great marvel I repeat myself again. If you by any chance enjoyed the more calmer, fragile moments of, say, Anathema’s A Natural Disaster or Antimatter’s Planetary Confinement, you’re implored to check out Blueneck’s Repetitions. It might not be the same, but there’s a certain shared quality to the album’s essence. That alone should be enough. And with this release, Denovali continues to be one of the most relevant labels around for those in need of emotional proxies.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
October 14th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik Unikagen

    Great review! I went to Denovali Swingfest this and last year and have seen Blueneck perform live. Your description is spot-on. Highlights this year were the ultra sludgy chugfest that is Lento, Omega Massif’s postmetal, the smokey doomjazz of Bohren und der Club of Gore, Sunn 0))) with Csihar, Hauschka’s prepared piano and the James Bond loungejazz from Hidden Orchestra. Check these acts out! :)


  2. Commented by: bast

    “Anathema’s A Natural Disaster or Antimatter’s Planetary Confinement”? Sold


  3. Commented by: Apollyon

    Really hoping to get to Swingfest at some point in my life; the line-ups have always seemed interesting and worth while.


  4. Commented by: Clauricaune

    Spot-on review. This is good stuff – I’m even enjoying it more than the last Anathema album.


  5. Commented by: Shane

    Hmm…Mikko I see I should investigate


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