Over the course of 25 years and seemingly twice that many albums, it's become well nigh impossible to state simply what the Legendary Pink Dots "sound like." The best one can hope to do is to describe what Edward Ka-Spel and company are up to on any given album. Happily, Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves is one of the band's most straightforward (relatively speaking) albums, and one of its best. The overall tone is one of English psychedelic whimsy mutated into darker, largely electronic forms: think of classic-era Gong and Syd Barrett's solo albums, as remixed by Aphex Twin. Ka-Spel's vocals have the high-pitched, childlike delivery of Barrett or the Television Personalities' Dan Treacy, which adds an extra layer of nervous dread to the uniformly dark, foreboding lyrics. Musically, the combination of the Silverman's whirring electronic drones and the warmer, more human sound of Niels Van Hoorn's saxophone parts sets up a Krautrock-like organic/inorganic tension that permeates the entire album even on songs like the delicate, acoustic-guitar-led "The Island of Our Dreams" that lean more to one end of the spectrum than the other. Interestingly, this Meddle-like respite, the sound-effects-plus-found-voice opener "Count on Me," and the cut-up piano and drones of the closing "Your Number Is Up" all smack hard of classic Pink Floyd, perhaps the first time that the Legendary Pink Dots have recalled another band for more than a few minutes at a time. A quarter century into their career, such a comparatively accessible album is perhaps the most surprising thing they could have done.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason