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Billy Mahonie / Glider | What Becomes Before / With Ocean Between (Southern / Where Are My Records)
A long time coming, with label headaches aplenty, the follow up to The Big Dig is more than worth the wait. Quite probably the only British band to wholeheartedly take on the post-rock ethic and subsequently redraw the blueprint, Billy Mahonie revel as much in pounding guitar and twin-bass licks as they do in soothing soundscapes. Opener Fishing With a Man for a Shark illustrates this juxtaposition perfectly as a brooding intro, with muted trumpet courtesy of Ian Watson, gives way to Zeppelin-esque riffage and Gavin Baker's unhinged lead guitar. The brief Nacho Steals From Work is another Baker workout, the following Dusseldorf a live favourite finally captured on tape, eight minutes of funky prog shapes and a rhythm pattern to die for (an alternate version features on this issue's covermount). With four other tracks passing the seven minute mark, 'What Becomes Before' shrugs off accusations of self-indulgence by remaining continually inventive, melodically lush and supremely confident that every twist and turn it makes is the right one. From the bubbling groove of Keeper's Drive to the folky acoustic interludes False Calm and I, Heston, from the slow-building serenity of The Day Without End to the unashamedly grandiose denouement Bres Lore, Billy Mahonie have given it their best shot, and walked away triumphant.
When not employed by Mahonie, or side-project Jet Johnson, Baker can be found in the altogether more calming climes of Glider. This intriguing pairing, separated by the Atlantic, sees Baker adding layers of guitar to drums laid down in Pascal Asselin's home of Quebec, Canada. 'With Ocean Between' is very much the morning after Mahonie's night before, a record that effectively captures the movement of the waves on tracks like Le Temps Qu'il Faut à une Larme Pour Couler and Floating Fleeting. It's a predominantly subdued affair, with the exception of the appropriately Mahonie-esque There's A Band in my Kitchen, and succeeds due to the empathy and skill employed by its two protagonists.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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