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6 December 2013

Eyeless in Gaza - 'Drumming the Beating Heart'

My other experience with Eyeless in Gaza comes a year after Photographs as Memories, finding a bolder production, maybe slightly toned-down singing, and some long-form instrumental explorations in 'Dreaming at Rain'. (Great choice of a preposition there, guys!) Maybe the 80's changed everyone because I hear a more 4AD sound here - not that Photographs didn't had a liberal use of synth textures and reverb-laden vocals, but it has the more polished, more churchy vibe here which makes me think of Dead Can Dance or Dif Juz. 'Veil Like Calm' sounds practically epic, compared to the first albums relative raggedness; there's not only more confidence here, but a more unified vision perhaps. At this point, Eyeless in Gaza sound like Eyeless in Gaza and no one else. It's still unmistakably capturing a mood and time that is long past, yet elements surface in the popular sounds of today. I keep going back to the aforementioned 'Dreaming at Rain' - it's clearly the dark horse on the album, yet feels a product of writing the rest of the songs -- the end of an organic process, perhaps. I don't mean to harp on Bates' voice, which is wonderful and expressive - but here, especially on side two, he stretches it into something flowing and responsive rather than just over-the-top dramatic. There's more instrumentation that guitars here (as there was on the first, but even moreso) and the plinky-plonks and bells and whistles occasionally create a tapestry of pure tortured beauty. Despite these new romantic tendencies (and the album title) this never strays into too maudlin territory. An underrated gem.

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