High quality, long pedigree, deeply unfashionable, unpredictable, oddly soulful, music.
It may take a few listens to appreciate the understated quality in this album but The Higher You Get The Rare The Vegetation has a clarity and dynamic sensibility which are arguably the antithesis of stereotypical colorless, inaudible, mumbling, indie music. It also has a clever pacing and thematic coherence suggestive of a -- contradiction in terms -- very nuanced concept album. At times Laurie Hall’s vocals swoop, warble, and swoon as abstractedly as if she were the offspring of Hugo Largo* and Kate Bush. She is perhaps known from her time in psych-punk group Ovarian Trolley. Eric Drew Feldman’s excellent and varied musicianship are as you’d expect from someone who has played and recorded with Beefheart (Bat Chain Puller, Doc At The Radar Station, Ice Cream For Crow) The Residents, Pere Ubu, Pixies and PJ Harvey.
Few groups display as much varied creativity harnessed to as much subtlety. The end result seems very natural yet unpredictable, with expert production and arrangements, an angular soulfulness, lyrics that are cathartic but not overdone, and an enveloping, organic, democratic balance to the overall sound. Restrained theatrical flourishes in “The Revelator” give off a slightly insane air akin to 1970s progressive rock. Final track “Bury” has a spacey transcendental feel which some groups would repeat for a whole album. Not Knife and Fork. There is plenty of menace and anguish in these songs and I really like that they seem outside of any obvious genre. Here is a release of undoubted pedigree, chums.
*Not strictly possible since Hugo Largo is a group, not a person.