INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Each track stands proudly on its own, but absorbed in its entirety, Banhus is an altogether draining, exhausting experience – in the best way possible. An impeccable release.
On third album Banhus, Perth post-rock outfit Eleventh He Reaches London expertly paint intensely bleak sonic landscapes that demand a decidedly uncomfortable response from listeners. Birthed over a four-year period spent writing and recording, the quintet simultaneously delivers their most expansive yet consistent album to date, serving up seven haunting slices of atmospheric experimental rock that seamlessly come together to create an impressively coherent body of work.
Right from the get-go, there’s an overwhelming sense of foreboding on menacing opener ‘The Dragging Cloud’. Lead into second track ‘Code Entwined’ and the sort of dread-filled beast lying at the centre of Banhus becomes clearer. Dissonant, jarring guitar lines serve as a backdrop to vocalist/guitarist Ian Lenton’s notably Australian snarl; vivid imagery of barren, inhospitable wastelands stirred up by the highly textural nature of the band – EHRL comprises of two guitarists apart from Lenton, plus a super-tight rhythm section.
In saying that, it’d be naïve to assume it’s all semi-apocalyptic doom and gloom. On Banhus, EHRL explore a broader range of sound than they’ve ever done before. The slow-burning semi-balladry of ‘No Funeral’ and banjo-driven ‘Veil’ are reminiscent of the likes of Nick Cave and The Smiths. It feels the furthest away from forced, and on a thematic level progresses the album’s vision rather than confuses it.
Ultimately, Eleventh He Reaches London have crafted a record versatile while innately connected and fully realised.
BY BLAKE GALLAGHER
Banhus is out now through Hobbledehoy Records