Rock, February 2021

hfnalbum.pngCasper Clausen
Better Way
City Slang SLANG50317; LP: SLANG50317LP

Clausen is lead singer in Efterklang, a Danish post-rock collective renowned for their imaginative instrumental arrangements and song structures, and that approach feeds into his debut solo album. Clausen tends to work up songs spontaneously from an 'intuition' and on the lengthy, mantric 'Used To Think' rides out on synthetic drum beats – a palette of bright, shifting sonics is introduced before his reassuring voice makes its entrance. The song was influenced by Spacemen 3; and Sonic Boom from that band produces here, creating a soundscape of great depth and detail. On 'Little Words' the treated guitars, flickering electronics and vocal harmonies combine in a potent mix of melody and experimentation. MB


Flying Moon In Space
Flying Moon In Space
Fuzz Club FC138CD; LP: FC138V12

This Leipzig septet – which includes four guitarists – improvise at length in concert and they also generate song ideas this way. But on this dazzling debut their expansive workouts never outstay their welcome, and sit alongside shorter atmospheric sketches and near pop song interludes. They wear their '70s Krautrock influences on their sleeves, but favour the tight, propulsive rhythmic approach of Neu! and Can, which lends itself to dance music-style electronic treatments on 'Faces'. The ensemble create a surprising amount of space and the speedy drums, subtly woven guitar lines and vocal incantations of 'The Observer' give it an irresistible momentum. MB


The Left Outsides
Are You Sure I Was There?
Cardinal Fuzz CD/CD[R no cat no; LP: CFUL184

The wife and husband duo of Alison Cotton on viola and harmonium, and Mark Nicholas on guitar – they both sing – create a sparse, moody music that is steeped in traditional song, but carries an edgy modernity, with two reference points being Mazzy Star's eerie nocturnes and psychedelic-folk group Espers. 'November On My Mind' has a '60s West Coast breeziness, but the prevailing mood is sombre and stately. Cotton intones a folk-tinged melody over wah-wah guitar on the bittersweet 'Seance', but the darkness descends on 'My Reflection Once Was Me', which feels like a rural Velvet Underground with tolling drums and guitar chords, and ominous viola drones. MB


Songs For The Drunk And Broken Hearted
Cooking Vinyl PASS20CD1; 2CDs: PASS20CD2; 2LPs: PASS20VP1

Some break-up albums can be heavy going, but although Mike Rosenberg aka Passenger draws here on his own recent history, he appears to view his predicament with a certain feeling of liberation as he sinks another one. The songs are presented in both band and acoustic versions, and at times his vocal inflections are reminiscent of Cat Stevens – his heartfelt advice on 'The Way I Love You' is along the lines of Stevens' 'Wild World'. On 'Remember To Forget' Rosenberg is with a substitute for his lost love, his mixed feelings echoed by a bittersweet trumpet, and 'London In The Spring', with pedal steel guitar and strings, finds him again in love with life. MB