Album review: Alexis Marshall – House Of Lull. House Of When
Considering the chaotic unpredictability of U.S. experimentalists Daughters, a solo album from frontman Alexis Marshall will be anything but ordinary. Entering the studio without a plan, alongside Jon Syverson (Daughters) and Evan Patterson (Jaye Jayle, Young Widows), Alexis’ debut record is born from moments of spontaneity.
Fragments of drum patterns and piano lines create complex and multi-textured soundscapes that don’t quite fit within the boundaries of normality. Adding to the unusual, items were sourced from a hardware store in order to further the rattle and rumble that makes this record so abrasive. Moments of hushed lamentation alongside softly played piano give way to tirades of angry vocals, alongside the proto-industrial scrape of chains across concrete. The dynamic is turbulent, and tranquil interludes are brief, yielding to volatile outbursts, narrated by preacher-like choral delivery. It’s fascinating to listen to how sudden inspiration shapes each song, and imagine what the mood must have been in the studio at the time.
This won’t be for everyone. It’s lacking the punchy impact you’d expect from Daughters, and there’s nothing in the way of catchy hooks to reel listeners in. However, it’s a formidable display of what talented human beings are capable of when locked away with only a determination to create. But while it’s impressive that Alexis and his collaborators have managed to piece together a 45-minute opus out of nothing, the fact that this has been committed to LP format does tarnish some of the magic. The impromptu vibe would make for a sensational live performance, so it will be interesting to see if House Of Lull. House Of When ever makes it to the stage.
For fans of: Daughters, Oxbow, KEN Mode
House Of Lull. House Of When is released on July 23 via Sargent House.
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