MY BELOVED - Echoes Over Voices
Twenty years ago, My Beloved came together in Copenhagen to perform dark instrumental music. It took them about five years to come up with their debut album, which was followed two years later by their second one. Three years later a third one came out. Then it took them four more years for the fourth one, and now we had to wait for five years for their fifth one. You donít have to be a mathematician to see a pattern.
But seriously now, as I missed their last effort, itís been nine whole years for me since I last heard of this Danish quartet. Listening to their music, itís very easy to unbag the post rock label, but I guess that few bands nowadays like to be dismissed as easily as that. In the past, My Beloved claimed to be a post goth band, which made sense in some ways but was misleading in others. Nowadays, they call their sound "instrumental music noir", which sounds a bit weird as a label but actually makes sense. Although the band took five years to release Echoes Over Voices, it is also their shortest album to date. The eight songs thus average five minutes, and rarely make it over the six-minute line. Those who relish the never ending post rock epics might be disappointed, but it is refreshing that these guys get to the point rather quickly.
Consisting of a guitarist, a keyboarder who also plays guitar, a bass player and a drummer, the line-up is rather typical, but the music definitely is not. Although My Beloved use the silent/loud dynamic changes like many post rock bands do too, the Danes manage to come up with a rather unique, peculiar sound. One part of that may be the very untimid bass playing that at times is rumbling as if it came from the very depths of hell. Another part is the generally great musicianship, be it the incredibly versatile guitar work, the melancholic piano parts or the sensitive drumming that can happen silently in the background during the quieter band and just as soon explode when the mood demands. Itís not really the best music to listen to while driving your car or operating heavy machinery, but it canít be beaten in a late evening, when the lights are dimmed, and youíre reading a good book in a comfortable chair or sofa.
As the songs are all on a similarly high level, I donít want to go too much into details, but the first three tracks will give you already a good impression of the bandís range. The opener Behind The Old Tree is still a rather mellow track, before Black Water, a short track just under three minutes, first features the brutal bass guitar that just like that puts itself over the gothic western guitars. On Rare Souls, the band has invited e-violinist Zef Noise (who already played with Psychic TV and Peter Murphy), and not too unsurprisingly this piece reminded me of the sonic desert landscapes of Australian trio Dirty Three. Actually, more than once, My Belovedís gothic noir music reminds me of the bleakness of some Nick Cave material, minus the vocals of course.
What I really appreciate with My Beloved is how they still know how to carve out their own niche in the instrumental rock music universe. Echoes Over Voices is not instantly accessible but deeply rewarding if you just spend enough time with it. And then we can only hope that we wonít have to wait six years for their sixth album.