Our Brother The Native - Sacred Psalms (2009)


What with providing a home to Brakes, the wonderful Storsveit Nix Noltes album (due out later in the month) and now this, Fat Cat is carving itself out a niche as the place to go for music that doesn’t entire fit into the usual moulds.

Not that Our Brother the Native are without their obvious comparison points. Their stately, idea-strewn indie-prog has some pretty strong echoes of Arcade Fire, in its strained chorusing, and Godspeed post-rockery, in its more orchestral moments. You might even say that at times the record sounds like a British Sea Power b-sides collection, but only if you meant it as a compliment (which I surely would). The collision of sounds they make is their own though.

Often it’s loosely built, around what sounds like far eastern wind-chime percussion (or a rambling steel drum) and “heard through a distant transistor radio” musical and spoken word samples. Sometimes, just when you think a song is destined to be a jumbled, half-heard, dream soundtrack, a more coherent sombre tune will emerge in the middle – plucked on banjo or whatever odd instrumentation they’d picked up en route to the studio. All of which means that bits of it do tip over into the pretentious or the aimless. But such are the risks of their ambition, and at its best this is an engaging and atmospheric record.

As you might guess, you’re not likely to hear any of it down your local indie disco this weekend (at least not prior to chucking out time). If you’re in the mood, though, it’s well worth investing a bit of time in.

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