Inventions – Continuous Portrait

As soon as the record begins to play, Continuous Portrait reveals its true colours through the echoing of laughter (‘Hints and Omens’). Following this release of laughter is a bright, major sounding progression, a strobing electronic spectrum. Matthew Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) want to make people smile again. Bright West Coast colours and upbeat vibes are spray-painted with pride over the music. Even if there’s no one to see the beach or the forest, Inventions bring the outdoors closer to home thanks to its selection of natural tones, bright instrumentation, and a freedom-loving spirit.

On ‘Calico’, a slower, reverential choir is placed alongside a quick, shuffling rhythm. Removed from its original context of a sleepy, dusty church and splashed in Californian sunlight, the music fizzles with energy and positivity – something that will appeal to all. The intermittent sound of a wooing wood pigeon is coupled with a clean and gentle guitar melody. Background birdsong is also introduced, as well as a cycling harmony.

The well-paced songs never drop their enthusiasm, and there’s a joy which cannot be dampened or suppressed; there’s a want to share it with the world. The playful nature of their music makes for a surprising and effervescent album, and this evident even in its final track, ‘ Saw You in a Movie’, which combines dialogue from the silver screen with a sweeping orchestral theme. It could have come from a never-released Disney score, producing a slightly melancholic ending, but one that’s majestic, all the same. Totally different to their solo output, their third album is a breath of fresh air, and a remedy for our strange and uncertain times.

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