World’s End 2021
Cornish quartet spread their wings and soar towards celestial realm where progressive advance doesn’t matter anymore.
One look at this collective’s record covers reveals logical development of their vision which has moved from erstwhile claustrophobia to almost open vistas so, building on the creative success of "Nocturne" that promised a masterpiece to be delivered next, the St. Ives group serve it up. There’s previously unwitnessed sense of liberty in the three epics “To Touch The Sky” comprises, and the wonder seeping out of every note and signaling the ensemble’s freshly fashioned refusal to follow the art-rock rules and their wish to favor pure musical expression instead. Such a daring decision can’t fail to pay off, and what the foursome offer here is spectacular on many a level.
Once the portentous piano of “The Awakening” has threatened the listener with a blunt riff – the album’s leitmotif whose melody is reminiscent of “As The Years Go Passing By”: hardly a coincidence on a record based on the notion of time and space – an orchestral panorama starts unfolding, where echoes of an infant’s cry are heard. Still, Ally Carter and Tree Stewart’s voices paint a gloomy picture only to dissolve it in a delicate pool of tears and let the finally transpired guitar figure attack it rather ferociously. Landing on bluesy terrain, the band introduce strum and groove to propel “And I Stood Transfixed” to a proper hypnotic state so that Carter’s saxes and six strings and Stewart’s flute could flutter over this arresting vastness and get anchored by David Greenaway’s elastic bass – until heartbeats bring on a dynamically demented sonic tempest, allowing drama to first ruin a harmony and then restore the bliss.
As Ally’s solos soar higher and higher, living up to the album’s title, the 22-minute “The Ascent” turns out to be a small symphony, driven by Tree’s vocals and ivories that form both lulling background and lapping waves – to be the group’s greatest glorious achievement. Immersing one’s psyche into magically down-to-earth world, they do touch the sky with their music. The question is, though, where will the quartet go from here?