ALBUM REVIEW: Dogs Versus Shadows – This Crow Wears A Wire

7/10

Dogs Versus Shadows – This Crow Wears A Wire

Dogs Versus Shadows is the moniker of Lee Pylon. Probably best known as the host of the excellent radio show “Kites and Pylons.” A weekly show on Sine FM and Mixcloud, with the tag line “Otherworldly Electronica.” Lee champions the weird and wonderful world of electronic-based music. Ranging from the bedroom music maker to the studio wizards. The show is essentially created around Lee’s great ear for interesting, eclectic and inventive music. Matched up with his vast wealth of knowledge and boundless enthusiasm “Kites And Pylons” is a little radio treat.

This Crow Wears A Wire is Lee Pylons first foray from playing to making music and his love and passion for leftfield electronica, ambient soundscapes, radiophonic sound, synthwave and experimental music shines brightly. The mini-album is released by the independent Subexotic Records. A label started in 2010 by Dan Seville with the intention of “showcasing interesting electronic experimental music” and Dogs Versus Shadows certainly falls into that remit.

This Crow Wears A Wire comprises of twelve songs that would loosely fit into the genre of ambient electronic music and possibly more specifically Hauntronica. Opening with the introductory song “Try Not To Hate Them” it is instantly obvious that Lee has been taking detailed notes from the current Hauntology scene. However, as soon as the second song “Lima Papa” starts, its equally apparent that Lee is composing, more than a homage, to a genre he’s been happily playing on his radio show. “Lima Papa” really sets the dystopian tone for the album. The drum sound has a delightful live quality anchoring the song, while the synths and effects float woozily around the rhythm. “Chop Chop (Must Dash)” opens with the panning drone sound of a helicopter, almost instantly accompanied by a metallic, broken rhythm, before drifting into broken, jumbled and distorted radio signals. “Myopic Is Not Bionic” is driven by almost bombastic drums and a dirty pulse, around which synths stab and a theremin-like effect, dreamily haunts. “Founder’s Point” is the brooding interlude to the chaotic and delightfully disorientating “Mumpsimus Rex, “ which is full of pulsing stabbing notes and a half-hidden, constantly building hook.

“Shadows Of The State” uses snatched vocals drifting over dark, doom-laden synth pads. “Six Kilometres” is a minute and a half of bleeps over a deep, controlled throb. “The Things We Know Didn’t Hurt Us” slips into a gentle, warm and surprisingly positive-sounding ambient soundscape, before crashing into the distorted drums and half-heard despotic sounding speech, delivered through a distorted tannoy effect on “Nebulous Upland.” “Look Where It Got Me” bubbles and bristles around a simple, effective hook. The title track, “This Crow Wears A Wire” rounds the album off with layers of crackling synths, while others wash to and fro, like electronic flotsam.

The Crow Wears A Wire is a very interesting and intriguing debut album. It is the product of a radio host who has a natural ear for quality music. At times it’s reminiscent of a wonderfully low budget imagine soundtrack. A musical Orwellian world, where every building is constructed in Brutalism style and covered with closed-circuit television. Men in long, grubby raincoats and wide-brimmed hats casting shadows across their faces and smoke menacingly in dimly lit alleyways. It is an atmospheric world of uneasiness and mild, but insistent paranoia. A world of rising dread at what might be waiting round the next corner. A world where even the birds are wearing listening devices.

 

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