The Observatory, Catacombs



The Observatory, Catacombs – The album was released in early 2012 to pre-orders, and if you pre-ordered you could download the demos of the songs. Cool! I have a bunch of other Observatory albums, and they’re always a dark, twisted treat.

When my CD arrived, I was a little disappointed with the packaging – apparently it had been done in some sort of disappearing printing process, but with an 18cm x 18cm folder to house the regular-sized CD, I wondered why they made it look like I was getting an old vinyl single. Cool.

The album is suffused in deep melancholia, of course, broody atmospherics that the Observatory does so well, and weird, angular sounds. The first song, “Peace And Quiet”, is merely two chords, spaced out over the 0:26 track, then “Headworm” gets started with crazy, angular sounds, until Leslie Low’s dark Peter Murphy-like voice comes in. The title track “Catacombs” has a lot more life, with a crazy, dark, distorted riff, and wild, willful percussion. “Ends To No Means” burbles along with electronics, and another riff similar to that of “Catacombs”, bomping and bomping with strange layers and layers of sound sound sound, then zooming Sonic Youth clattering guitar solo. Love it. “The Argument” is also based on a cool, simple riff that combines distorted guitar and electronic, it almost sounds new wave, albeit in a sorta Peter Murphy-ish way. It ends as a somber, melancholic piano dirge. “Accidentagram”, one of the few songs that is quite a bit shorter than its demo, which is strange, because it is ambitious – it starts off with a bit of vocally-focussed burbling and meandering, before kicking out the jams with some nutty electronics and noise after 1:40, just grooving on and on and on and on… two rounds of that and it’s a song. “Insomnia” gets started quickly with a gloomy bass riff that’s very attractive nonetheless, sweet singing, it’s chilled and mellow throughout, with clock-y arrangements. Ooooooooohhhhhhh….! “One-Dimensional One” is all doom-y voices and drums, with a bit of scratchy noise. Dark, spooky, majestic, driving on and on and on and on and on! If any of the other songs were dark, “Out Of The Furrow” out-darks them all with a spooky horror soundtrack intro (is this a scary metal prelude for a song that never comes?), and then strange near-Talk Talk-ish dark pop song. “Anger And Futility”, rounding out the release, is sad-sounding, but not very dark, a very quiet song that sings out “let it die…” Strange melodica songs going on there too, the song ends with some Merzbow noisy scratching. Nice.

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