Belbury Poly

The Belbury Tales

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The Belbury Tales -- the fourth studio album from the Jim Jupp alias the Belbury Poly -- seems to be the encapsulation of ten years of label Ghost Box's vision and ethos. The standard bearer of all things "hauntology," the label's founders -- Julian House and Jupp himself -- trade in sounds and feelings of worlds past. These worlds contain the forgotten British children TV shows, library music, psychedelia, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and a very English sense of pastoral eeriness. With all these strains of influence playing in the background, The Belbury Tales displays an uneasy sense of self. The album is a lot richer and realized than previous efforts, with Jupp doing a fantastic job in creating something that is not a pastiche of the past but something that pushes through the nostalgia with clever effect. The album intro "Belbury Poly Logotone B" gives the listener some idea of what to expect. You are suddenly aware that you about to enter a world of mythical pasts with references to modernity as well as to crumbling medieval mythologies (House's exquisite artwork is more of an obvious clue about the album direction). There's an earthiness throughout the record, too, with tracks "The Green Green Grass" and "The Geography" displaying a warm and flowing folk influence. The rest of the album waltzes by, seemingly traveling through English fields with hallucinatory synths and melodies, although there's room for eastern influence on the track "Goat Foot," which recalls Turkish psych rock acts Ersen and Erkin Koray, giving The Belbury Tales a pleasant and surprising depth. This is an album that will require repeat listens in order to really appreciate the little details and the true scope of the Ghost Box sound, a fine little story book of music that slowly opens a haunted crypt of memories and prophecies.

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