ARTIST: In the Nursery
LABEL: ITN Corporation
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Almost impossible to pigeonhole, In the Nursery have been exploring the intersection of classical, industrial and ambient music for over 25 years. Their latest release continues those explorations with an emphasis on stirring, grandiose string parts, but the rumbling militaristic drums on tracks like "Blueprint" and "Dogfight" give things an ominous energy that sets them apart from quieter classically -inspired outfits. While the staccato snares and reverberating kettledrums do conjure images of troops on the march, the themes here are more philosophical and brooding than martial, as evidenced by the moody contemplation of "Silent in Time." Somber male vocals on several tracks give things an almost gothic feel sure to please fans of Sol Invictus and Ostara, while breathy female singing, provided by one-time Massive Attack collaborator Sarah Jay Hawley, provides a soft counterpoint on "Futurebuild" and "Vantage." Perhaps this album's most stunning offering is "Imperfect Design," which brings together the best of the band's softer and more bombastic sides, starting off Hawley's exotic ululations and a piano melody that recalls Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" before bringing in the deep rumble of the drums. Unlike many of the avant-garde classical set, In the Nursery's music has always been emotionally accessible, rather than intellectual and off-putting, and this album is enjoyable whether or not you're familiar with the group's long and distinguished career. Pick this up if you're interested in darkly majestic soundtrack music.
Visit the group's website at www.inthenursery.com.
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