Regular readers might recall that I have quite a love for Conquering Animal Sound, with their debut album being rather highly anticipated round these parts. Now the release is upon us it is time to see if it lives up to my hopes.
For those of you short on time that don’t want to read this whole thing, the short answer is yes. Hopes lived up to, expectations not only met, but surpassed.
Slightly longer version? If you insist. There’s an awful lot going on throughout this album, layers upon layers of instruments, electronics, vocals and all sorts of other noises, but at no point does anything sound cluttered or messy. In fact every single sound seems totally organic and essential. Even with a million things going on the songs can seem sparse and bare, like a tree stripped of its leaves, or full and warm, like a hug from that friend you are seeing for the first time in ages. Previous single Giant is a great example, sounding at time huge, almost overwhelming, before swiftly and beautifully changing into something tiny and minimal.
Put quite simply this is pretty much an astonishing, beautiful sounding album that shows that the previously released singles (Giant, Wildthings and Bear, all included here) were far from flukes. There is nothing on the album weaker than those singles and the word filler doesn’t appear to be in the Conquering Animal Sound vocabulary. Kammerspiel is a fantastic album to get lost in.
Everyone has their songs and records that come in useful after a bad day, when needing to clear their head, or to put them in their happy place. This is one of mine now. Worth the wait? Goodness yes.
Oh, I almost forgot to make the required comparison between Anneke Kampman and Bjork’s voices, which it seems all Conquering Animal Sound reviews must contain. They aren’t really that similar, but would probably overlap somewhere on a Venn diagram.
At the start of last year The Unwinding Hours came along with an impressive debut album and threw down a gauntlet to everyone for the rest of the year. With Kammerspiel Conquering Animal Sound have done the same. If there’s many debut albums better than this, in fact many better albums at all, then this will be a fantastic year for music.
Kammerspiel is released by Gizeh/Mini50 Records on February 7th. Order it from the Gizeh records shop here. The album is also available on eMusic, iTunes HMV and Amazon
Listen/free download – Ira
Conquering Animal Sound are off on tour for the next couple of weeks, dates below: