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Gravenhurst | Fires in Distant Buildings (Warp)
Although Nick Talbot, 'leader' of Gravenhurst, is from the Home Counties, his adopted home of Bristol is the perfect place for him. His new album, 'Fires in Distant Buildings', has the mysterious magic of all the best music produced in that city (my hometown), from Third Eye Foundation to Tricky, from Bronze Age Fox to Flying Saucer Attack. The music owes something to Slint, although maybe via The For Carnation, Brian MacMahan's subsequent band who seemed influenced by Massive Attack as much as they were by their Louisville peers. Where Gravenhurst differs from a band like Mogwai is that Talbot combines a love of post-rock and selected shoegazing bands (most noticeably Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine), with lyrics that recall the saddest songs of The Smiths or Red House Painters. This album is less direct than 'Flashlight Seasons' or the mini album, 'Black Holes in the Sand', but this makes it the kind of record that's likely to improve with age. And, whereas on previous recordings the music has sometimes seemed at odds with the lyrics, here it gels beautifully, creating an album that is probably best enjoyed on a car stereo while driving around the Avon Ring Road after a heavy evening in the Lock and Weir.

Matt Thorne
April 2006