Available on: No Pain in Pop 7” / download

Forest Swords, aka Mike Barnes, gifts us with two of the most beautifully strange and soulful songs. There’s a lovely ghostly fuzziness and spaciousness to these tracks, with a hypnotic, almost hynmnal atmosphere that’s reminiscent of early Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Dubby chimes and percussion echo out through the mists while lonely spaghetti-western guitars pick their way through. Ectoplasmic vocals melt through the songs, their lyrics rendered indecipherable by their heavy treatment, and get caught up in tiny loops as if they got snagged on a thorn. It’s masterful evocation of the poignant euphoria of rave without sounding anything like rave; if Fennesz ever covered a Burial tune, it’d may be feel a little like this. At heart, these are radical three minute pop-songs, floating free of all convention, but with alien melodies that stay with you for days.

Simon Hampson



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