Padang Food Tigers: Ready Country Nimbus
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Stephen Lewis and Spencer Grady – two members from the (currently dormant?) post-folk, drone trio Rameses III – are Padang Food Tigers, and Ready Country Nimbus is their new long player. Where Rameses III stretched out their sounds into long-form explorations of folk instrumentation and drone smudge, Ready Country Nimbus is a series of brief sparkling miniatures. Only one track here (sedate closer Hey, Relaxer) passes the three minute mark, and most are less than two. Rather than give the album a rushed feel, these little fragments work cumulatively to create an over-arching sense of calm, and unabashed prettiness.
The tracks generally revolve around simple guitar figures and sparse piano chords, while banjo adds counterpoint, and spacious field-recordings add a wash of echoing space to tracks like Juliette. In fact, one of the joys of this album is they way the miniatures interact – for example, the two note piano motif that punctuates Pymers Mead’s opening of park and bird calls, sounds like the announcement chime in some benign airport lounge – perfectly setting up the more cavernous, populated environments of Lone Carson. The piano tends to alternate between deep, shadowy chords and pinpricks of individual notes in the upper register, which gives the guitar and banjo space to shape the music.
What distinguishes this album though, aside from the gently nostalgic pull of the songs, are the production touches that lift it beyond the day-to-day. The way that reverb becomes another texture on some tracks (like Juliette) rather than a spatial-ising tool, the swells of noise that drift into the album from time to time – witness the second half of Lone Carson, or the crackly touches in Little Smiler. The tiny hints of lap steel in the same track, the thump of piano pedal detectable in the background, the click of guitar-pedal footswitch. All add to the there/not-there sense of the album – there is the sense of rain and filmic-ness, but a dreaming, skywards glance too.
Highlights? The way For Esmé’s melodic coherence anchors the second side – and meshes perfectly with the grainy Super-8 footage in its video version. The way opener Lings Coppice sounds like a collection of two or three folk bands finishing a set, or warming up – a gentle lean into the banjos, piano chords and field recordings that sets the tone for the set. The way the serene harmonium waves of Hey, Relaxer combine with the crunch of boots of snow, jangled bells, pointillist music box, to close the album in gentle style.
- John Boursnell for Fluid Radio