Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
[B]OTC [/B]temper their excursions into avant-garde noisemaking with a loving propensity for melty harmonies and sunny pop...
The sleevenotes explicating each track are a dread signpost that you are entering concept album hell. In 'Hideaway', for example, "ten acoustic guitars are added two at a time", and in 'The Bark And Below It', "kitchen bowls become tiny gongs soon to be interrupted by violins and cellos". See, OTC have made "a set of animated departures" stemming from a single guitar line - making countless variations on a theme over 27 tracks. That's right. This album is 74 minutes of the same basic components sampled and rearranged, then spliced and smothered in Theremin, so that each time they create a 'new' song.
But wait! Don't run away! OTC temper their excursions into avant-garde noisemaking with a loving propensity for melty harmonies and sunny pop. So 'Black Foliage' swings from John Cage-y sound sketches to gushy passages of lysergically sublime harmonies, like a surreal voyage into Brian Wilson's worst nightmares.
Teasing the limits of pleasure and agony, 'Black Foliage' is a messy, irritating listen. But it's worth persevering just for those odd moments of gorgeousness.
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album