Chasing Broken Shadows

names. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. ‘Quango’ sounds more like a delicious fruity yoghurt than anything quite so squalid and mundane as a ‘Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation’—which in turn sounds far more exciting than it actually is. You assume they’re issued with rifles and a remit to exterminate all hostiles, but alas this is not the case. Similarly, I’m sure we’ve all met our fair share of nuns responsible for terminally raised eyebrows after introducing themselves as Precious Lovecock. Or possibly that was something else. And you should really change those sheets.

Silvercord is a name which works. Try to imagine what kind of notion might result from the term Silvercord. Don’t force it. If you are imagining a heavy metal band, you are doing it WRONG—that would be Silverhawk or Silverschweredesenergienfeuers. Right-minded people will be envisaging finely spun threads of silver, woven together to form a delicate cord. Or something of that nature. Which, yes, is rather literal, but it also nicely supports my theory.

“Bioluminescence” is a further example of exceptional naming technique. As the weaving, overlapping layers of droning sound envelope and surround, it’s easy to find yourself by the shore of a misty lake in the crisp grasp of winter air. Natural light has long since faded, but as glances are cast across the undulating surface of this watery expanse, pinpoints of blurred light can be located in the depths. For mere moments. Turn away and they vanish; engulfed now by intermingling vibrations emitting from a lonely stranger, absent-mindedly wetting his finger and running it around the rim of a darkened glass in a bar with no name. It’s just that kind of track.

Indeed, the addition of “Lullaby” and “Chasing Broken Shadows” combine to form a slow-building holy triumvirate of instrumental sound, evoking feelings ranging from mild disquiet at the pseudo-religious mourning of a lone female voice forming wordless sounds, to near absolute calm. The sun is coming up, the mist is fading fast into the heavens and the bioluminescence seems to be drawing nearer, parting the water in the shape of a familiar figure ...

Crikey, it’s Jesus.

Yes, there’s a swift about-face in stylistics and suddenly we’re welcomed to the Faith Plus One vibes of “God Came Down”—a catchy little pop number heavy on the religious existentialism and potential need for salvation. Can’t say I was expecting that one, and it’s a little disappointing really. Having laid the groundwork so spectacularly across the preceding three pieces, this climax can be nothing but rather muted. It’s not the religious aspect which jars, merely the drastic about-face of tone that cuts the atmospherics to shreds. Like an irritating advert for shampoo appearing in the middle of your cult classic thriller.

Attempts to recapture the mood with the stuttering ticker-tape-loose-amidst-the-cogs-of-machinery antics of “Unearth Me” and near-full circle return of “An Elfin Lament” do not go unnoticed, but the spell is tragically broken now. An almighty boulder has been heaved into the pond, scattering and displacing all manner of beauty with an uncouth splash.

It is time we left the lakeside.

Reviewed by: Peter Parrish
Reviewed on: 2005-04-11
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