Saturday, March 1, 2008

Yellow6 - Painted Sky

Artist: Yellow6
Album: Painted Sky
Label: Resonant
Year: 2007

01. I Know I Shouldn't (But I Do)
02. I Loved You More Before I Knew You Loved Me
03. Common
04. Nye 2
05. Realisation
06. Pleasure/Pain
07. Eighteen Days
08. Requiem For Julian
09. Mare
10. Azure


We’re halfway through March here in Nebraska, and we’re finally on the cusp of spring, though just barely. As any resident of the state will tell you, noone here really, truly believes that spring has truly sprung until we’re approximately halfway through May. Blame it on a cynicism influenced by unpredictable weather patterns, but I’m keeping my heavy coat nearby, just in case Mother Nature decides to dump another blizzard on us as a nasty little April Fool’s joke.

And so, it only makes sense that Yellow6’s latest, Painted Sky, is coming out this time of year. Don’t let that summery, desert blue sky on the CD cover fool you for a moment. Jon Attwood’s wintry dronescapes are still heavily present throughout the disc’s ten songs.

It’s often contended that Yellow6’s music is too wintry, too sparse, and too stark. The things that can make the music so captivating and arresting are often the very same things that make it laborious and tedious. Oftentimes it depends on your mood, true enough, and so if you’re not in the mood for some of the slowest, darkest post-rock this side of Labradford and The Curtain Hits The Cast-era Low, you should probably steer clear of Yellow6’s music in general, and Painted Sky in particular.

But from time to time, Attwood’s intensive goal of seeing just how far he can extend the spaces between his guitar notes, how glacially he can pace his songs’ rhythms, how much tension he can wring from each note and icy programmed beat threatens to break his songs in two. It’s somewhat maddening, because this approach is used on nearly every single song, with little variety in the method. Individual songs might be lovely, but the cumulative effect can be, well, a bit of a drag.

The opening track, “I Know I Shouldn’t (But I Do)”, nears eight minutes as Attwood slowly wring out stark notes from his guitar in a manner that firmly recalls early Low. However, no lovely Alan Sparhawk/Mimi Parker harmonies glide in to offset the gloom. Instead, a keening, high-pitched drone flutters about in the background, conjuring up images whitewashed concrete rooms and abandoned streets—images that becomes even clearer once the funereal drums kick in... (-by here for the whole review

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