Sunday, 29 June 2008

Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill

Grouper is the Oregon-based Liz Harris. Noone more, noone less. Over the last few years she has been quietly making a name for herself through her ethereal and haunting songs, shrouded in a thick fog of vocal loops and guitar ambience, akin to perhaps My Bloody Valentine if they decided to ditch their "louder is better" approach and go acoustic. It seems that these days she's decidedly walking out of that fog: here on her latest effort, we have twelve folk songs that shine with a new-found clarity. Liz's stellar vocal harmonies float effortlessly above her gently strummed, reverb-drenched guitars to create something utterly mesmerising. Don't be fooled by the creepy cover art and equally creepy title, there's something about these songs that's beautifully calm and delicate - they lull you into a sense of total serenity where nothing matters but the haunting melodies that drift around in your subconscious. These are folk songs that are as subtle as they are powerful, taking a gentle but hypnotic approach that works its magic slowly but eventually becomes very endearing. "Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill" is the light at the end of the tunnel in musical form.


(link behind cover art)

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