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Lark Blames - Chimney

Now this isn't what you'd expect from the frontmen of Naevus and Sleeping Pictures. Chimney is the result of a collaboration between Lloyd James and Marc Blackie. There's not even the briefest hint of dark-folk here. Instead, as Lark Blames, the duo have indulged in a series of improvised sessions producing some inventive and playful experimental pieces. There's everything in here from drones, power electronics, industrial electronics, to some piano based tracks and guest spots from Rose McDowall (Sorrow, Strawberry Switchblade) and John Murphy (KnifeLadder). I liked this a lot as there's a nice variation in theme throughout. The opening track 'Music' unfolds to a reverberating drone amidst bells and textured effects. 'Lint Service' augments a rippling drone with a distorted churning guitar riff. One of the other drone type pieces 'Palms Down' has repeated piano notes and melodic piano chords creeping out from a swirling drone. They are just as comfortable with noise: 'Vuvka', a playful pastiche of power electronics, is all scratchy textures and electronic generated shudders. 'Boys Or Men' is a series of bursts of static culminating in a somewhat truncated torrent of noise. The fractured rhythmic cut'n'splice of 'Bleach Minorities' is something of a winner too. The beautiful Rose McDowall provides some spoken word couched in haunting harmonies on 'Black Butterfly' over dissonant electronics and discordant guitar strum. The final track features the laconic Australian drawl of John Murphy. It's anchored to a free-flowing bassline and vibrant percussion, with scratchy guitar chords and theremin shrieks. Amongst the drones, rhythms and noise elements of Chimney, the post-punk thrashings of 'Mondo Chimney' stick out like the proverbial sore thumb but it's a fine way to close this excellent album which serves a worthwhile sideline to their day jobs. For more information go to