Boomkat Product Review:
Concept albums are back in fashion - it's official! I've been waiting for this moment, I really have, the moment when I can sit listening to an album and actually be drawn into the mythos surrounding it, get absorbed by the story and sink into the music itself. Reigns have now joined the ranks with this follow-up to their utterly mind-blowing 'We Lowered a Microphone to the Ground' album a couple of years back and have not only written a story to go along with the record but have created an entire village. The album is based on the legend of Styne Vallis a town which according to the booklet was flooded in 1970 to make way for a reservoir. Unfortunately for the council the reservoir could never be purified though, as the water would repeatedly go putrid as soon as it was filtered, which had something to do with the town's horrible reputation for crime and incest. Reading further the booklet reveals oddities discovered on the banks of the reservoir which shed more light on the town's peculiar lore, and it doesn't stop here either - the band has posted Myspace blogs detailing in great depth the explorations into a neighbouring town. The whole story has a distinctly Lovecraftian feel to it, even down to booklet's final quotation - 'And when the waters do at last then drain, then the dead shall die again' which is surely a skit on Lovecraft's 'That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.'. The album itself disappointingly doesn't get anywhere near as waterlogged and macabre as the story itself, but Reigns know exactly what they're doing and they've put together yet another gorgeous selection of post-post-rock experiments punctuated by field recordings (apparently recorded at Styne Vallis...). Using delicate elements of electronica, guitars and folk instrumentation the duo have pieced together an album which is at it's core intrinsically English. The story, the themes, and the music itself all gorge themselves on England and the mists of the gloriously mysterious English countryside. This is paganism, warm tea, a ticking grandfather clock in a local pub, a bacon sandwich with brown sauce and a frilly tablecloth all set to beautiful music. Surely one of the most 'complete' albums I've come across this year, and a perfect winter accompaniment to Xela's similarly Lovecraft influenced 'The Dead Sea'. Highly recommended.