Thursday, 14 February 2013

REVIEW: Cymbient - I Saw Energy (Folkwit Records) - listen

'I Saw Energy' is the upcoming third LP and the first in five years from Cymbient. It's a project from Cardiff based musician Andy Fung, whose psychedelic paintings adorn the album. The objects painted inside the gatefold CD case are probably the weirdest things I have ever set eyes on in my entire lifetime. Like his bizarre art, his songs have a psychedelic thread running through them as well. It turns out that Fung was also the frontman of Welsh band Dererro, whose 'Radar Intruder' single I still have a 7" copy of from about 14 years ago. Coming to think of it, that's got a rather strange sleeve too.

There's some nice arrangements here, but it has to be said the songs are growers rather than things that catch you on the first listen. It's definitely a slow burner, and opts for a soft, subtle sound in most places, with the randomly playful 'Instrumental #1' and the explosive second half of 'Order/Chaos' being the only exceptions. But by far the most immediate track here has to be the beautiful 'Trailers And Gliders', which from the start sounds like it's a small part of a bigger puzzle. And that's exactly what it is: it makes more sense when played with the rest of these songs, although it still sounds great standing on its own. 

'I'm Coming Up For A While' falls somewhere between Elliot Smith and Pink Floyd, while 'Simple Keys' and 'Moths' have a sound not too far away from Grandaddy, but the style of the songwriting is a whole different thing altogether. Like for instance, on the pleasing closer 'Underlying Paitings'

On the first listen it's certainly not predictable. You can't tell where any of it will go next, and if you're in the mood for that sort of thing, you'll find this music rather intriguing indeed. Others may need patient ears and an open mind. 3/5.



http://folkwit.com/artists/cymbient

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