“Where is the truth?” is the question that runs through this record like an unmitigated ache. While dealing with the obstacles involved in emigrating from the UK to the US not long ago, Mark Van Hoen (ex-Seefeel, Scala, Aurobindo) discovered that he was adopted, and that it had been covered up in an elaborate attempt to preserve the family myth. Drawing upon krautrock, early Boards of Canada, and the darker emotions of his teenage years, Van Hoen moves even further away from his ambient pop as Locust for an organic, cloudy foray into psychological dissonance.
He sings the titular question, sighing out the first word, over teetering rhythms and sweeping spangles of melody during the record’s most soul-searching moment. On “She’s Selda”, he is cut up and pitch-shifted over light, alluring polyrhythms. The detuned piano paired with repeated knocking lends the aptly titled “I Need Silence” just the right amount of despondent isolation, an analogue to sitting with your head down between your knees while you allow yourself to feel things. For all the inspired songwriting, the record’s most powerful quality is Van Hoen’s voice; he exploits its strange properties to sound at once like the mother, the father, the child, and the narrator in his personal drama. Little of Where Is the Truth is traditionally pleasant, but it is a rich, compelling listen.
// Notes from the Road
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