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A Folding Sieve

A Folding Sieve
(Words On Music)

Re-releases of fairly innovative, yet somewhat obscure bands are somewhat of a two-sided coin. On one hand, you get to hear some great music by a group that you probably wouldn't have heard before (which is the case of this release), but at the same time, in the years that have passed since the original pressing, chances are that the innovative qualities the band held in the first place have been repeated scores of times by others. Granted, it doesn't diminish the quality of vision of the first release, but it inadvertantly takes some of the excitement out of hearing it.

Originally released as an 7 track EP clear back in 1995, A Folding Sieve is a nice example of the early shoegazer scene with flourishes of other styles. Expanded to double the songs and well over twice the amount of music as the original, this re-release offers a good batch of extra material, which compliments the older tracks nicely and helps to fill out the edges a great deal.

The album begins with the tracks from the original EP, and the first of them is a twinkling ambient piece called "Rolling." Mixing piano with some almost disconcerting noise samples, it drones along while vocalist Tanya Maus adds some haunting vocals. "Breathe Salt" moves into more familiar territory, as the group lays in a round of nicely feedbacked guitars while the two part harmony vocals of Maus and Marc Ostermeier combine in a way that recalls those of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low. It's one of the best tracks on the release for the duo and mixes a touch of My Bloody Valentine with early 4AD work by Lush.

They continue with a similar sound on the next couple tracks before dropping off into dark territory on the dark, rhythm and drone of "Resonate." With vocals that fall into a cold baritone range, the track sounds like something that could have come off a Projekt release. Arriving after the tracks of the EP are two tracks from a 1997 7" release, which tread the same sort of lo-fi feedback-drenched slowcore/shoegaze feel of the beginning of the disc. Some of the newest tracks find the group working into a slightly more pop feel, with upped tempos, while still holding onto their core sounds.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, one of the pitfalls of re-releasing an album 7 years later is that many groups have done things similar. Taking the easy route in my review, I even fell prey to referring to other bands in comparison of Should's sound. While one of their most recent songs is also their best (a cover of 18th Dye's "Merger"), I'm not even sure if the group is still together (their last true release came out in 1998). Some very good moments from the group, and if you're into some of the groups mentioned above, you'll probably find lots to enjoy.

Rating: 6.5