Band of Susans

Veil

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

The fourth full-length from Band of Susans is their most assured to date. Perhaps not as immediately compelling as The Word and the Flesh, the band members are nonetheless at the top of their game, expanding the margins of their sound. Whereas the last album was focused on songcraft, here the compositions reign. The band is no longer content to let the guitars drone with feral ferocity, instead exploring greater use of dynamics, dissonance, and interplay. Far more experimental in approach than their previous albums, the rewards are revealed with repeated listening as the complexity of the songs' interior structures becomes more transparent. For example, "Mood Swings" begins with a lean-to of stereo call and return guitar lines before the throbbing bass and drums come in with the foundation and the song swells, becoming a storm with flashes of guitar audible within the squall. At the break, the guitars drop out, and after several measures of choppy rhythm, the storm returns. This intermingling of intermittent sounds and effects is made even more effective by expanding the palette beyond a melodic crush of guitar to include individual dissonant and minor chords that bring all three guitars into bas-relief. The lyrics are often lost, like a lone figure in a field beneath a thundering, searing cloud of sound, with only the refrain echoing softly. This is no great loss, as the sheer muscular musical virtuosity of this album requires few words.

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