The Blithe Sons

Arm of the Starfish

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This release, the second outing on Family Vineyard from the Blithe Sons, aka the extremely prolific Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja, Coelacanth, Jewelled Antler Collective, etc.) finds him in the company of fellow Antler traveler and Mirza guitarist Glenn Donaldson for five beautifully introspective and evocative soundscapes. Though ostensibly marketed as "post-rock" (a vague umbrella term that covers groups as diverse as NNCK, Sunburned Hand of the Man, JOMF and Volcano the Bear), the opening mournful stasis of "Sparkling Diatoms" wouldn't be out of place on an electro-acoustic improv specialist label like Erstwhile; it's only when the gently strummed guitars and banjos and discreet, almost embarrassed, vocals slip in on "Sun Anenome" (sic) that this inscrutable music approaches a recognizable genre. There's a marine, if not submarine, flavor to the work, not only in its choice of album and song titles, but in the rolling ocean rumble (is it real or is it Memorex?) that forms the backdrop to several tracks. But Chasse and Donaldson's music belongs beyond and below the surfboards and bikinis, in a mysterious subaquatic natural world of their own creation. You're strongly encouraged to don masks and snorkels and go join them there.

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