Graveyard Tapes – Our Sound Is Our Wound
Posted In: Euan McMeeken, Graveyard Tapes, Graveyard Tapes - Our Sound Is Our Wound, James Catchpole, Lost Tribe Sound, Matthew Collings
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Flowing through the dull-tinted atmosphere like a running river of dark red blood, Our Sound Is Our Wound drips spatters of lost love and heartbreak along a system of veins caged inside its own circulation; these are wounds that run deeply, opening up the afflicted area, both emotional and physical, with precision, and revealing the once-secret privacy of blood-flow to a world of onlooking voyeurs. Music herself is in the blood, our passion, and this dark river not only runs through Our Sound Is Our Wound, but through our own veins, submerging us so completely that it almost becomes a drowning during baptism.
Graveyard Tapes is a new project, but you may already know the duo behind the music as Euan McMeeken and Matthew Collings. Our Sound Is Our Wound is a grey, cold cemetery of minor, disintegrating keys and crumbling Gothic stone surrounded in grey, pale light. Almost as if waiting for a vision, the ‘Gravebell’ pierces the stationary silence with an opening, alternating drone that seems to call out worshippers from beyond the grave. ‘Bloodbridge’ is a poetic, peaceful song aching with desperate vocals, crying of heartbreak and shattered desolation, where a piano alone of company takes its place beside decaying, white-chalked statues weeping concrete tears. It is a reverential atmosphere of sorrowful reflection and cold condolence, despite the final major chord in the heavenly progression. McMeeken’s piano playing calls forth a sense of pure peace, despite the melancholy and the hurt vocals that can’t get over a loss. The lightest, yet coldest wind carries an airy electronic signal like the distant chirp of a winter birdsong, but it is the piano’s three-chord repetition that reveals true power, and turns the track into a desolate flood of tears. A shroud of mist envelops the ground, but this reflective song craves for the beauty in sadness which Maeror Tri so perfectly defined. Three chords; nothing else is needed when music is as compelling as this, and rarely will you find a more emotive piece spilling forth this year. Consoling itself in a chord progression and then returning to its roots, its resting place, the piano is like a child searching for the outstretched arms of a mother, and when it resolves it is the very same kind of comfort, reassurance and safety.
Our Sound Is Our Wound supports and encourages the possible healing of wounds through love, creation and music (which are all linked to one another). Hints of jazz, and even of dark baroque, filter through, creaking like a wooden coffin and adding touches of the medieval in timbre. A speared drone bleeds stigmata from the concrete, running from wounds like spilled wine. An emotional listen, both artists reveal a personal pain through the entrance of sound, and also the potential for healing these wounds that music tunes into. Introspective, deep cuts are ones that love leaves over the heart, and the album has its fair share of battle scars from the occasional assaults of drama and despair. And yet, this is the music of a still-standing survivor who walks triumphantly.
Picking up the pace are songs such as ‘Gravebat’ and ‘Hunting For Statues’, the former a fine rhythmic current electrifying the doom and gloom reminiscent of Massive Attack, and the latter an up-tempo track that could have been on a late-night radio show playing experimental pop. A pulsing beat and a vocal buried under gravel pumps the life of ‘Gravebat’, filtering so deeply that it almost sinks into the subconscious. A strummed electric guitar progression, overdriven to a crisp, fine point, is as close as we come to pop-rock., but this is no My Bloody Valentine, with guitars that sound like jet engines blasting off. However, it isn’t without its own unique distortion, and there are plenty of tormented abrasive textures.
‘Our Sound Is Our Wound’ burns a fierce light of opening white static, before suddenly evaporating into the stillness. All that’s left is a piano, a reawakening of the mind, body and soul into another world. An intense, atmospheric heat like that of a solar wind can be felt steadily increasing, until it simmers on the horizon. Just what is that point of light in the distance? It’s a special track that never breaks its promise of final, anticipated delivery. ‘Wolves’ gather around, growling with an upturned snarl of distorted, malicious noise, and then what sounds like an earth shattering vibration crumbles the graveyard rock to dust, coming with only one intention – to destroy the music, and it does so successfully. Our Sound Is Our Wound asks questions of everyone who has ever let us down, broken our heart or left us for dead. People who have deserted us and loved ones who have forgotten. Yet, those who remember still honour your name with devotion and love, as they lay flowers by your side. Two peacemakers stand in the dark, as survivors. And through their songs, they are able to heal their own troubled, conflicting emotions. Our Sound Is Our Wound is also a cry that pleads for an answer we may never find; why have you forsaken me?
- James Catchpole for Fluid Radio