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Undulate And Drift

Bluetile Lounge

There's no getting around the fact that Bluetile Lounge plays very very slowly. They're kind of like a mixture of Low (and they in fact thank Alan Sparhawk in the liner notes) and older Red House Painters in which the tempo has been cranked down even more, but there's something about their slow and steady pace that makes for some very beatiful music. While the group has also released a full-length entitled Halfcut, this batch of 5 songs (that still spans over 45 minutes) is their first release.

Perhaps one way that the music of the group can be described is by saying that it might be the musical equivalent of finding yourself at the bottom of the ocean floor. While most of the times, you find yourself being gradually lulled by the motion of the water, occassionally a current would catch you and tug you along for a ways before depositing you again. Most of the songs start out softly and slowly, but gradually build to a release (either with a slight increase in tempo or volume) at some point.

The first track on the album moves along nearly exactly as explained above, starting out with a super slow and rather quiet combination of drums, bass and guitars before some whispered vocals find their way in. Eventually, the guitars get cranking a little louder and the drums are struck just a little harder, but it never moves beyond a glacial pace. The next two songs clock in at about nine and a half minutes apiece, and the strange thing about them is that they sound like great pop songs that have been slowed down to about 20 beats per minute. You can hear the hooks especially in the amazing "The Weight (And The Sea)" (like the great "Weight Of Water" off Low's recent Secret Name) and you want to sing right along with the dreary pace of it and "GM."

The epic of the album (as if they could stretch songs even longer) is the 12-minute long "Ambered." With one guitar shimmering like something out of a Morricone soundscape and a wash of cymbals that threatens to drown out everything in the song a couple different times, it's another slow mover that wraps you up and sways you along with it. The album closer is also the shortest song on the disc, but it's no faster. As with the rest of the tracks, it features great, weary-sounding vocals and threatens to sink you completely, but has moments of stark uplifting quality (including the nice touch of a piano) that lessen the load slightly.

Although it's a bit harsh, I've heard the saying "music to slit your wrists to" in regards to this group. While they're not gothic or even necessarily dark, they do require a certain mood for listening because of the sluggish pace. If you're in the mood, though, they'll be your best friend.

Rating: 7.25