Album download leak

SITE: getleaks
REPORTED BY: getmetal



The fourth album from the London duo recalls Brian Eno's post-psych, pre-ambient albums from the mid-’70s and explores how modern media interacts with musical transcendence.

For an album that radiates solemnity, Grumbling Fur’s Furfour is surprisingly preoccupied with television. Its trailer has the aesthetic of a scrambled cable signal, lines blurring into swirls as seen through dilated eyes. Snippets of found dialogue at the beginnings and ends of songs evoke channel surfing. The device itself is mentioned more than once in the London psych-pop duo’s lyrics, too, most strikingly in the chanted chorus of “Silent Plans/Black Egg”: “I can see through the day/To the fridge and television.” It’s an image that, like much of Furfour, suggests both a constant, voluntary awareness of the outside world and a simultaneous urge to escape from it.

The great selling point of psychedelic music is the distance it puts between the listener and material reality. Even in the absence of drugs, it’s spirituality without religion—or, at least, it’s immersive and abstract enough to transport you. But something curious is happening, now that hysterical news cycles and frenetic workdays can follow us to bed at night via smartphone. Artists who would’ve led us into reveries a decade ago are now making music that admits the impossibility of mental vacations. Morgan Delt’s recent album, Phase Zero, quotes clickbait and frets about the apocalypse. Of Montreal’s adds internet slang to Kevin Barnes’ robust vocab list and up-to-the-minute identity politics to his fantastical subversion of the gender binary.

On Furfour, so titled because it’s their fourth album, Grumbling Fur’s Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan have a subtle way of honoring reality while tilting towards transcendence. They’ve often described their music as a collage; their drowsy voices rest atop synthesizers, clips of sound and speech, and an array of organic instruments. In this case, the collage effect extends to the album’s themes, too. The multi-instrumentalists paste images of drudgery and loneliness onto a larger canvas that uses the language of science fiction to express a hunger for spiritual stimulation: “The ultraviolet sun/You know it radiates through everyone/But the show it must go on go on and on and on,” they sing in unison on “Heavy Days.”

Once an improvisationally inclined quartet, Grumbling Fur found themselves writing pop songs as a two-piece sometime after the release of their 2011 debut, Furrier. Furfour is a bit of a comedown from the two hallucinatory albums that followed, 2013’s Glynnaestra and 2014’s Preternaturals. Only its thumping first single, “Acid Ali Khan,” achieves the abandon of those two records. But you rarely miss it. Tucker and O’Sullivan are still working within the realm of psychedelia, and still collaging sounds in unexpected ways. “Pyewacket’s Palace,” a wordless piece of sound art situated midway through the album, trembles its way from the strings and timpani of a vintage film score to the choral sighs of heavenly ascension. Here they prove they know how to deploy a guest musician, too: the fluttery, wired flute at the end of “Golden Simon” comes courtesy of Bardo Pond’s Isobel Sollenberger.

But this is the first Grumbling Fur album that suggests a meditative trance more than an intoxicated daydream. With the exception of “Sapien Sapiens,” which layers a robotic speech about evolution and genetic engineering over ponderous drones in a way that feels surprisingly obvious, Furfour is too rich with ideas to become a drag.

Rooted in a long, strange tradition of English experimentalism that also includes bands like Throbbing Gristle and Coil, Furfour is most reminiscent of Brian Eno’s post-glam, pre-ambient albums from the mid-’70s—it’s music that proves pop is as fertile a genre for conceptual songwriting as any other. “Silent Plans/Black Egg” transitions from a violin-led dirge of quotidian exhaustion to a glitchy bed of noise that’s eventually paired with a clip of someone reading from the Book of Revelation. It sounds like the dream you might have if you fell asleep in front of that TV from the chorus.

Eno is also a great collaborator, but he never had a partnership quite as intimate as the one that underlies Tucker and O’Sullivan’s spirit of sonic inquiry. From the White Stripes to OutKast, duos are often studies in contrasts. On paper, Grumbling Fur are similarly mismatched. Tucker, a comic book artist who also records as a solo act and plays in the psych-folk duo Imbogodom, is entirely self-taught. “Put me in a room with instruments and I can play every single one of them—but I also have no knowledge at all of the mechanics,” he told FACT. O’Sullivan is a classically trained musician whose other past and current projects—proggy Guapo and the Norwegian post-metal act Ulver among them—hinge on technical mastery.

But the music they make together is remarkably coherent. Crowded as it is with instruments and ideas, Grumbling Fur doesn’t sound like a collision of sensibilities. Down to Tucker and O’Sullivan’s fondness for blending their voices, the band is an experiment in subsuming two personalities to a collective aesthetic—and that might explain why it’s so cosmic. It may be hard to transcend the spiritual starvation of the fridge and television, but Furfour suggests that the small-scale ego death of a creative friendship is one way to do it.

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Track list:


1 Strange the Friends
2 Acid Ali Khan
3 Heavy Days
4 Molten Familiar
5 Milky Light
6 Pyewacket's Palace
7 Perfect Reader
8 Silent Plans/Black Egg
9 Golden Simon
10 Sapien Sapiens
11 Come Down and Watch Them
12 Suneaters

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Download & Stream

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