Live From A Shark Cage

The future starts here, and for [B]Dave Pajo[/B], 'here' is about 1820....

The future starts here, and for Dave Pajo, ‘here’ is about 1820. American indie’s answer to William The Conqueror – everyone who has picked up a guitar with experimental intent since the days of [a]Slint[/a] could claim to be a relation – Pajo has ditched the ‘Aerial’ prefix of his M project and gone back to the wild sounds of the village green. Because, for all the title’s savagery, ‘Live From A Shark Cage’ is at times like listening to a George Eliot remix, tilting at luminously lovely, uncannily calm pastoral.

As expected from a man who counts Tortoise and Palace among his acquaintances, however, any conventions are quickly drowned in the millpond. The superbly named ‘I Am Not Lonely With Cricket’ is 15 minutes in a bell tower, deft guitar piercing the chime and swell, while ‘Roadrunner’ uses the John McEntire hyper-reality trick to create perfect clockwork scenery. The menace is out there, flickering through the hedgerows: the pallbearer’s thump of ‘Knocking The Casket’ is obviously the work of a man on close drinking terms with Will Oldham; ‘Drinking Spree’ evolves Smog‘s drawn handsomeness into Burkittsville folk, while ‘Crowd Of One’ hits the modern world with a series of disconnected answerphone messages, a different age of alienation.

Yet it’s Pajo‘s genetic fingerprints that cover this record, synthesising forebears and descendants into timeless beauty. ‘Live From A Shark Cage’ runs as deep as it runs free.