Mentioning Forest Swords the other week, the brilliantly named Soren Lorenson posted to say how much they reminded him of Matt Elliott’s Third Eye Foundation.
I’ve written at length about Forest Swords in the new issue of Uncut (and subsequently discovered that their “Dagger Paths” is getting a formal UK issue on No Pain In Pop). But serendipitously, the first new Third Eye album in ten years turned up the other day, too, an expansive and rather addictive disc with the characteristically gloomy title of “The Dark”.
In the space between Third Eye releases, Matt Elliott has made some nice enough records, with more of a singer-songwriter bent and less general noise than on his earlier records. “The Dark”, though, finds him playing again to what I think are his strengths: slow, somewhat classical melodies overlaid with ebbing waves of noise and complex drum patterns often indebted to drum’n’bass.
On “The Dark”, another of Third Eye’s finest tricks – a backdrop of banshee howls – makes a welcome return. This time, though, Elliott intersperses frenzied and skittering drum’n’bass passages with sprung beats that betray a predictable interest in the dystopian possibilities of dubstep (or darkstep, I suppose). The scale of the operation, too, has increased. “The Dark” has five tracks, not all of them easy to name, thanks to the spidery handwriting on the sleeve. In effect, though, this is one epic piece of music in five movements.
At times, the blasted symphonics come to the fore, especially on the first couple of tracks, and the fourth (I think this reads “Closure”), which emphasises a certain kinship with Gavin Bryars by having an antique, ghostly quality of the band playing as the Titanic goes down. The same simple refrain is battered and warped throughout, though, and by the finale – titled, in a vintage Elliott provocation, “If You Treat Us All Like Terrorists We Will Become Terrorists” – the beats have gone haywire and the noise has become obliterating. Exhilarating, too.