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4 July 2014

Family Underground - 'Familiar Places' (Into The Lunar Night)

So many contradictions here! These Danes are about the sweetest, kindest people you'll ever meet, but their music often sounds like the devotional chants of a murderous cult. The title is 'familiar places' but the only familiar imagery this will conjure is an imagined nocturnal bender with distant, ever-ungraspable shrieks in the distance and a pulsating ur-drone throughout. That is to say, this is a pretty great album that somehow transcends the ecstatic drone scene it was birthed from and has lots of peers (Double Leopards, Birds of Delay, etc.) while still somehow retaining a distinct quality. The centrepiece, 'Valley of 1xxx Smokes', sounds a bit like the mid-fi horizontalism of Newcastle's Culver, though with extra members to sweeten the deal with melodicas, tinkering bells and other not-quite-identifiable sounds. It's not too obvious, but works up enough steam that having to break in the middle to flip the LP is actually a detriment. Family Underground seem to flirt between organic, pastoral drone and darker, industrial-tinged rattling; it's a delicate balance than shifts its weight even in the same track. And when 'Hellish Design' rolls around to close up, it feels sufficient, a band that hasn't outstayed their welcome and knows exactly what they are converging on.

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