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Hungry Cloud Darkening: Glossy Recall

This is an album that really takes many listens to warm up to and wrap your head around, but, once you do, you’ll find this is a wonderful collection of songs.
Hungry Cloud Darkening
Glossy Recall
Off Tempo
2014-10-07

Nicholas Wilbur, Allyson Foster and Paul Benson are better known as touring members of Mount Eerie, but when they’re not working with Phil Elverum, they have their own ongoing project, Hungry Cloud Darkening. Glossy Recall, which was released earlier this year on cassette but is only now getting a proper digital, compact disc and vinyl release, is the group’s second album, and, boy, is it minimal. And slow. Real slow. Like, watching snails move slow. Despite that, there’s some really charming stuff to be found on Glossy Recall, including the closing number “Inhibited Window”, which is nearly six and a half minutes of a keyboard tinkling against an organ line, while the drummer sloooowly plays the toms. There’s a stickiness to the piece that resonates. Elsewhere, “You Look Around” almost sounds like a lost Yo La Tengo track, complete with ethereal vocals from Foster. “Time To”, which trots along at a mid-tempo clip, might just be the fastest thing on the album, and it is a most delectable pop moment.

There are other surprises as well. The baroque “Fading Comfort”, arguably the album’s greatest moment, conjures up the woolen feel of autumn. “Blue Green” could pass for something by the Clientele, only with female vocals. And “I Am Seen” has a cottony, lo-fi vibe. While this is an album that tiptoes up behind you, taps you on the shoulder, and then delivers a wallop, it may not be for all tastes given its pace, which often crawls instead of walks or runs. However, there’s plenty of pretty music to be had here, and you have to admit that this is original in some respects: at least in terms of the minimal nature of the music and the snail’s pace. I wasn’t particularly ready to write this off the first time I heard it, but I thought it was just okay. This is an album that really takes many listens to warm up to and wrap your head around, but, once you do, you’ll find this is a wonderful collection of songs. This is pure pop with a slightly experimental bent. I know that Elverum has another Mount Eerie album, a double called Sauna, due in 2015, but if he doesn’t want to tour behind it, that might be alright because that might mean more music from this quietly assured and endowed band. If so, I look forward to hearing it.

RATING 7 / 10
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