21st Dec 2012


  1. Out of Storks - 3:54
  2. Geometric Overload - 3:31
  3. Green Tangerine - 3:04
  4. Diermaier's Dream - 3:52
  5. Even Stephen - 3:07
  6. Diese - 3:38
    1. Land Edges - 3:47
    2. April Breaming - 3:26
    3. Tritonathon - 3:17
    4. Eregut of Tasania - 2:43
    5. Isodermia - 3:55
    6. Starfright - 3:45
    7. Dancing at Sparrows - 2:50


Ectogram ñ Exo-Celestial

Turquoise Coal/Pure Pop for Now People

An LP put out by both Turquoise Coal and Pure Pop for Now People and due for release on the day of the lovingly-hyped Mayan fauxpocalypse*, Ectogram's seventh album finds the band on fine avant-indie form. They've always managed the trick of melding their love of melodic songs with the further reaches of the weird and wonderful, but in Ectogramís case it's apparent that these are no mere extraneous noises (and who can resist a Mellotron?) thrown in to make their music sound kooky, but an integral part of how they live and breathe as a band.

This liberated sense of where their music can go, of pushing within the parameters of rock'n'roll until the boundaries crumble, has been a constant in Ectogramís adventurous approach on record and on stage. Exo-Celestial follows on from 2007's Fluff on a Faraway Hill in leaving the fuzzy ear-bashing wall of guitars they became somewhat celebrated for to one side in favour of a crisper approach. Re-imagining their sound and recording strategy from the ground up, the results are yet more expansive and often invigorating. Ann Matthews' vocals are still aimed for the stars while laterally considering the world outside, lilting and gliding, lyrically sweeping up "hipsters and shiftersÖ Fitzcarraldo husbands" among the back-masked multitracking, glockenspiel shimmer and pan-pipes, constructing a dreampop far more surreal than the average shoegazer could muster.

The thirteen three-minute-ish songs are all the more affecting and effective for their insistence that the top (of pop) should not be merely gone over, but dispensed with once vaulted. Mystery electronics ripple and flicker, and Matthews pushes her range, occasionally to the point of cracking, and sometimes to places where comparisons with the blissed-out yet grounded psychedelic soaring of Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanze of Amon Düül II are perhaps inevitable. Throughout, Exo-Celestial is an assured work which reveals a band who have taken their time to patiently craft what is possibly their best album to date.

* Thereís no mention of anything to do with 2012 or a specific doomsday theme to the album by the way ñ so it's not likely to go out of date on 22 December, unless of course the world does endÖ

Richard Fontenoy, Freq December 16th 2012