“Vinculum” means “chain” in Latin, and about the best quick spin I can put on this album (the second from this Atlanta-based duo) is that it seems to be about the people and things that hold you back, the memories and fears and shattered hopes that keep you home in the dark, peering out from behind the curtains at a world you just can’t face. That’s just a guess, though, mostly based on the way the music feels; since almost all of Sarah Hubbard’s vocals are heavily distorted (which is a shame, because she has a beautiful voice), and there are no lyrics or liner notes, it’s hard to say for sure what any of the songs are about.
Music-wise, I suppose you might call this industrial folk with gothic/psychedelic overtones. Most of the tracks are built around cello, piano, and acoustic guitar, which gives them a lovely sense of emotional fragility that is somehow strengthened rather than undermined when the heavy breakbeats come crashing in. It’s hard to pick favorite tracks, because each seems like an inseparable part of the whole, but “Phone” stands out for me. It starts with cello played backwards along with some odd tape noises, then kicks in heavy beats, piano, and a sample of what sounds like a church choir paired with slide guitar; for some reason, the whole thing reminded me of a lost scene from Eraserhead. Avis’ bitterly lonely vocals on “Cell” are chilling; he sounds like someone who has held out just about as long as anybody can, but is about to go over the edge. And it’s tough to go wrong when you cover a Pink Floyd song; “Wish You Were Here” makes an eerily appropriate closing track for this album.
Kyan Records, c/o Precipice, P.O. Box 190522, Miami Beach, FL, 33119, http://www.kyan.com