Stars in Battledress

Stars in Battledress

Secrets and Signals

House of Stairs

The brothers Richard and James Larcombe are the sole members of this ethereal and distinctly English band, Stars in Battledress. Centered on a piano and guitar, the brothers Larcombe create a distinct sound by their interplay of these two instruments. While many of these songs found their impetus in prior recordings the brothers made separately, the brothers are able to join together and create tracks that blend together seamlessly to craft this album. Their sound hearkens back to early Julian Cope, particularly on his early solo releases World Shut Your Mouth and Fried, as well as evokes the hermetically sealed world of Felt.

“I Spook the Language” is positively baroque in its deft employment of harmonium, piano and guitar to create a shimmering opening track that allows the album to unfold into the curious sonic landscapes that the Stars in Battledress create. Unfortunately, some of the tracks on this release fail to reach the same sublime level that the opening track is able to reach effortlessly. “Oh Engineer” is typical in this regard, as it starts off slightly but gradually builds and changes throughout to create a track that is pretty and interesting. One has to be impressed with the talent and skill that the brothers Lancombe bring to this release with their considerable abilities using pianos, organs and harmoniums. Yet, for all their technical ability and prowess, this album remains one that fails to connect emotionally.

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