REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Haiku Salut Invoke A Sense Of Powerless With 'Etch To Etch

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

This was a bit of a pot luck for me, intriguing band name and that’s all I knew about them before today. Turns out to be an all-female instrumental trio from Derbyshire … hmmm interesting … this is their second album, following on from 2013’s debut ‘Tricolore’ which again I knew nothing about before today.

The group described themselves back then as “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” and to be honest your guess is as good as mine, because having listened to the new album a few times today I’m finding it really hard to find the words to convey what this is.

In part it’s quite trippy with hints of Tricky and Portishead coming through with minimalistic beats and pauses, then in other places on the album it’s almost circus-like in a similar vein to some of Damon Albarn’s piano playing, while in others it’s reminiscent of the best parts of Arcade Fire or The Polyphonic Spree. But somehow it all gels together and the album feels like a well-rounded collection rather than a disjointed mix of songs.

Album opener ‘Bleak and Beautiful (All Things)’ is a teeny bit ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ by The Orb, and stands out as a gorgeous introduction to what this band is all about. I listened to this a number of times, and then saw the video online by James Machin which adds another dimension completely. The images of everyday household objects shot against the hilly background of the Derbyshire Dales is a great juxtaposition between the natural environment and the manufactured artificiality of life. It’s beautifully shot and matches the song very effectively.

Each of the ten songs on this album have the power to invoke a sense of powerless in me. It’s partly because I don’t know the direction, partly because I’m half waiting for the lyrics to begin and then feeling that sense of shock when the song ends and the words just didn’t begin. It’s a very dreamy kind of sensation and I can imagine this will be the soundtrack to many of my night-time imaginings, floating along when I’m in that half asleep kind of REM state and I’m flying over Icelandic mountains and waterfalls.

If you dream in techni-colour under a neon-moonlit sky then this album is probably for you. It’s a magical burst of fantasy, totally captivating and mesmerising and is one I’ll definitely be listening to again. I still can’t tell you the words to describe it. The best thing you can do is lie back, close your eyes, have a listen and decide the words for yourself.

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Words by Mary Long