Saturday, 3 October 2015
I was, I admit, getting a bit fidgety regarding the lack of a follow-up to Nac/Hut Report's last album, the majestic Angel-Like Contraction Reverse, which saw the light of day more than two years ago.
Not that two years between albums is an especially long period of time, but that previous collection had offered so many musical ideas such a rich texture beneath its chaotic surface, that you knew there had to be loads more where it came from. So, when nothing new arrived, I began to worry they'd called it a day.
I needn't have fretted. Not only were this Polish/Italian duo still alive and kicking, this second collection, when it arrived recently, proved itself a worthy successor. Frankly it's been well worth the wait, those unexplored possibilities of its predecessor having been mined so brilliantly the gap in between now seems, in retrospect, almost illusory.
I'm not going to get all Greil Marcus on you and talk about the collection stopping time or anything like that, largely because Marcus was always the only person who could get away with such observations without disappearing up his own arse. I'll merely comment that there are times when you want a band to go somewhere different and times where you want more of what they've given you before. The latter is what I wanted from Nac/Hut report and they've delivered brilliantly.
You know that the moment opening track 'Ah Ah East' grinds into its stride. I'm featuring it in my Dandelion Radio show this month, an easy choice because it's such a prime example of what makes Nac/Hut Report so great: Brigitte Roussel's sublime atmospheric vocals underpinned by a churning musical dissonance that so many attempt but fail to produce anything like as well.
If anything, there's an ever greater assurance evident in their work than the last time we heard from them. Since then Roussel has released an excellent solo collection and sounds even more unfazed by the possibility of lazy Nico comparisons, as indeed she should be, striding confidently out into the open on tracks like 'Jewish Son' to confront whatever the hell anyone else wants to make of what she does, and win. Musical partner Li/ese/Li effortlessly steps up to the same plate, the creaking, haunted soundscapes on tunes like 'Wolf the Saint' offering a vibrant and evocative accompaniment.
It's a musical triumph, again, and you can get it as download or CD from their bandcamp site here.