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Vril - Effigies In Cork

  by Andrew Carver

published: 29 / 12 / 2003

Vril - Effigies In Cork
Label: Rer
Format: CD


Debut album on maverick Rer label from Vril, which despite the eccentric histories of its band members, proves to be surprising in its normalcy

The music on Vril’s debut, 'Effigies In Cork' is allegedly the work of eccentric composer Lothar Preen, creator of such works the liners declare, as “ ... the 7-hour "surgical opera", 'Stalin Cured My Palsy, the song-cycle Republic of Cormorants, and the exquisite miniatures of the Sept Homages a Cloris Leachman.' It is played by Lukas Simonis, Bob Drake and Chris Cutler, who have all had a hand in creating some of the music least likely to appear on Top-40 radio in all recorded history (to refresh everyone’s memories, I described one of the tunes on Drake’s '13 Songs and a Thing' as sounding “... like a chicken being chased by an SUV (I think the chicken escapes in the end). A guitar being thrown down a staircase, the first five seconds of David Bowie’s 'Diamond Dogs' an explosion in a flamenco dancer school, Tom Waits on a bender, a hoedown gone horribly wrong, an emergency phone call to the plumber, videogame saxophone, sleepy dragonfly, radio freakout ...”). The song titles’ incongruous combination of adjective and noun (e.g. 'Gruesome Pillow', 'Uncanny Haversack', 'Clairvoyant Pig') and the peculiar flowchart on the cover would all seem to promise a significant weirdness level. Finally, there’s the ReR label itself; its roster of performers includes the likes of Faust and Ground Zero — hardly easy listening. Consequently, there’s a vague feeling of disappointment at the ... well ... normalcy of 'Effigies'. The band said it was a return to the lost art of the instrumental, and incredibly enough, they weren’t kidding. Granted, there’s a strange texture to the sound of Simonis and Drake’s guitars here and there (via pitch shifting and some unobtrusive use of a ring modulator, I’m guessing); Cutler’s occasional use of an electric drum kit lends a futuristic air, and surely none of the groups Vril is drawing from would let the timing of the various elements collapse as it does on 'Spangled Farmyard'. Nonetheless, the heavily reverbed melodic lines will be perfectly familiar to anyone who appreciates instrumental music. Anyone who does fall into that camp will probably appreciate the slight twist Vril has given the music. The casual purchaser of such things may be happier with Man... Or Astroman? or Robert Johnson and The Punchdrunks.

Track Listing:-
1 Supersonic Canteen
2 Impossible Canal
3 Wistful Cormorant
4 Inexplicable Jar
5 Gruesome Pillow
6 Freakish Tarpaulin
7 Spangled Farmyard
8 Preening Docent
9 Implacable Swordfish
10 Bloated Janitor
11 Wrinkled Lantern
12 Clairvoyant Pig
13 Despicable Cadet
14 Crumpled Armada
15 Uncanny Haversack
16 Groovy Vitamin

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