Grasscut | Unearth

Ninja Tune (2012)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  July 10, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

grasscut-1

Grasscut are ascension music: each measure another layer of melody, each minute another swell in forward momentum. Songs don't start there, but they get there — and when they get there, like in the stand-out track "Reservoir," your ears are knee-deep in strings, repetition, counterpoint, and emotional oomph. The British duo's second full-length in as many years mashes ghostly electro-pop tendencies with live instrumentation, empathetic orchestration, and tape-machine snippets, creating a world that is both compulsively listenable and eerily foreign. "Pieces" flits along like hyperactive electro–Philip Glass; "Blink in the Night (East Coker Version)" throws down some New Order guitar; "We Fold Ourselves" wraps an '80s synth-pop chorus in tech-bombast; and "Stone Lions" boasts the sort of cleansing refrain that you'd readily find in a Stars song. Listen to this back-to-back with the new Hot Chip, and dig the sonic yin and yang: Unearth is the moody reverse cousin of Hot Chip's In Our Heads, equally propulsive and complexly stitched, if more interior and overcast. Props are given to poets from Larkin to Eliot to Tennyson for their inspiration — which isn't nakedly obvious, but which may help to explain the plaintive, ethereal vibe throughout.

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