Album: VLOR – Six-Winged (Silber 075 2009)

Vlor are a Silber Records supergroup comprising a dozen musicians from various bands, the best known of whom is probably Jessica Bailiff. Starting out with guitar and bass lines from team captain Brian John Mitchell, the tracks were all completed by various people from all over the world. Comparisons with This Mortal Coil are inevitable. Indeed, there are plenty of musical similarities – short neo-classical instrumental sections, low key ambient pop and ethereal vocal tracks redolent of the Cocteau Twins at their most mellow.

The major difference between Silber’s supergroup and their 4AD counterpart of two decades ago is that Vlor are even more eclectic. “Tolerate the Wicked”, for example is an eight minute long dark ambient drone piece. “Damage the Land and Sea” is an instrumental based around a deep throbbing bass and scratchy slide guitar that threatens to explode into aural violence, but never quite does. However, the next track “Watch Me Bleed” injects some real aggression into proceedings. It’s a thrashing punk-pop thing that comes across like Sons and Daughters at their most bolshy. Definitely NOT very This Mortal Coil!

Half the tracks are under two and a half minutes, and many of these are little more than instrumental sketches of ideas. But they work as the glue that keeps the album flowing and not sounding like a random grab-bag of tracks. Only “Not the One for Me” grates a little, seemingly no more than an endlessly repetitive fade out whose title is the entire lyrical content.

Six-Winged is a terrific album that flits from style to style, but manages to hang together perfectly. Even the book ending tracks, ostensibly two versions of the same thing, sound nothing like each other. The first a delicate, fragile whisper of a song, the second straying into Galaxie 500 territory. It shows that surprise and variety needn’t be at the expense of consistency and flow.

Tracks
1 I Have Left Home 2:05
2 Without Blame 2:17
3 Guided 2:24
4 Never to be Rebuilt 1:59
5 She Goes Out With Boys 3:08
6 Tolerate the Wicked 8:08
7 Damage the Land and Sea 3:44
8 Watch Me Bleed 2:31
9 Children’s Teeth 1:30
10 Statue of Jealousy 1:14
11 Will I See You Again 1:40
12 Maybe You Should Chew On My Fist 4:19
13 Not the One for Me 3:19
14 Young Lions 1:20
15 Boundaries of the Land 2:40
16 I Have Left Home (reprise) 3:28

Websites
www.silbermedia.com/
www.myspace.com/vlormusic

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