Post-rock supergroup of sorts create delicate avant-pop masterpiece
Perhaps you wouldn’t expect something this luscious, this sexy or idiosyncratic from a summit between a sometime violinist for Mogwai (Luke Sutherland, who has also made music with Long Fin Killie and Bows), the bass player from To Rococo Rot (Stefan Schneider) and Volker Bertelmann from Dusseldorf electro types Tontraeger. But, as its title suggests, A Heart & Two Stars gathers songs and instrumentals of exceptional sensuality:think Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross” filtered through Boards Of Canada and the fragile instrumentals from Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information. Sutherland half sings, half whispers as a gauze of sparingly chosen chords and twinkling chime, click and whirr wafts around him. This isn’t post-rock so much as anti-rock. Indeed, “Route 66” only bears a resemblance to Chuck Berry’s journey down that rock’n’roll highway if it’s early morning and the sun has only just begun to burn the spangle of frost off the asphalt.
A Heart & Two Stars continues Sutherland’s fascination with the trappings of femininity. “Dynamite” longs for an escape from the yoke of traditional masculinity and the clatter of the outside world; “Boys believe in dynamite, Playboy and The A-Team… Fur back in the fashion mags… Boy bands just escape me… Wish I was in bed again… With you.” It’s somewhere between Morrissey’s effete “everything is too much for me” stance and the drowsy, sensual longing for a return to the womb/dissolution of the self of AR Kane’s 69 and My Bloody Valentine. (Titles from MBV’s Isn’t Anything, “Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)” and “(When You Wake) You’re Still In A Dream”, pretty much describe the way A Heart & Two Stars feels.) In “Ecstasy” he confesses, “All this homeboy wants is to be a B Girl”?but it’s a dangerous business: “Now got niggers bitching gonna blow me away.” With hearts on sleeves, Music AM are gazing at the stars. Brave, heady music.