Wife – ‘What’s Between’

Dark and dense electronic ambience from former Altar Of Plagues member

Wife’s debut is the work of James Kelly, guitarist with disbanded black metal trio Altar Of Plagues. His former band leavened their crushing attacks of noise with stretches of elegiac, dark ambience and on ‘What’s Between’ Kelly explores those ideas further – this is a dense and cryptic electronic album. Toning down his metal scream to a murmur, tracks like ‘Tongue’ and ‘A Nature (Shards)’ find Kelly marrying bleak imagery (“I crawl through black water”) to sparse drum echoes and abstract bass tones, his vocals weathered by shifting, finely textured treatments from guest producers The Haxan Cloak and Roly Porter. As desolate and coldly beautiful as a windswept moor, ‘What’s Between’ refuses to yield simple answers but rewards deep exploration.

Stuart Huggett