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Spokane | Measurement (Jagjaguwar)
It's entirely fitting that Robert Donne should join Rick Alverson and Courtney Bowles in Spokane, for theirs is a similarly slow-moving (if distinct) musical form as that of Donne's Labradford. Alverson's comatose creations drift on still waters, coaxed into movement by the gentlest of breezes. 'Subtlety and patience', as the press release accurately states, are key. As is empathy for Alverson's enigmatic enunciations, his voice as critical to Spokane's pull as their seductive musical tide. For far from being a langourous, oceanside chill-out, 'Measurement' is imbued with sadness. Ruminations abound without an obviously tangible source, veiled references offering precious clues. On Addition (sung here by Bowles, regular readers will recognise the song from CwaS's 'Back into the Shadows' compilation where it was Alverson at the mic), the refrain, "there's something you're not telling me," is particularly affecting amid the ambiguity, with similarly evocative lines rewarding the attentive listener throughout. ("The cause of our momentum is a cause I can't convey," they sing on Caution, referencing Addition's "Momentum is what I'm targeting.") Understated it may be, but 'Measurement' has an authority and emotional depth lurking just below the surface.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003