The elementary intensity of powerful music meets folky storytelling and an otherworldly search for meaning: after a grandiose joint record with The Body, they are in touch BIG|BRAVE back on your own. The trio’s sludge madness currently collides with the supposed idyll of nature and at the same time places an even stronger focus on good stories. “still lifes”the French term for ‘still life’, ventures further than ever into the depths of feedback loops and sparse atmosphere.
“carvers, farriers and knaves” opens in media res and wades knee-deep in chaos. Robin Wattie’s vocals and guitar seem to evoke a conflict – loud, dissonant, slightly off-key and yet somehow comforting. It is the first of many contradictions that run like a red thread through the entire work. The track comes together a little better in the second half. Thundering drums, edgy bass and occasional screams collide with the regular folk undertones. Above all, the complete over-revving of noise and feedback loops around the three-minute mark destroys in the best possible way.
In overly long song sketches, the full spectrum of peculiarities emerges. “a parable of trusting” lives from sludge-kargland, which sometimes dives into noisy drone spheres, while “the fable of subjugation” first focuses on the vocals for a reduced, spooky start with an Americana list, before it really gets nice loud, oppressive and destructive. And then there’s the opening guitar of “the one who borne a weary load,” suggesting something of a classic riff. Finally, the first of many pressure waves arrives. Especially after the six-minute mark, glaciers feel like they are collapsing, accompanied by a wild Robin Wattie who knows how to channel anger and pain.
Yes, “nature morte” is at times almost unbearable because of the sheer tension. The nervous costume is almost shredded, the smooth transition from reduced storytelling to noise, sludge and desperate aggression is constantly disturbing. BIG|BRAVE remain a benchmark for pleasant destruction and push the possibilities of the feedback atmosphere further than ever. Underneath lies fragile beauty that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Once again BIG|BRAVE leave you speechless, once again the broken inconsistency of being inspires from start to finish.
Available from: 02/24/2023
Available through: Thrill Jockey Records (Indigo)
Category: Magazin, Reviews