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Au - Verbs

  by Andrew Carver

published: 6 / 12 / 2008

Au - Verbs
Label: Aagoo Records
Format: CD


Chaotic, but exuberant experimental pop on second album from Au, which consists of Portland, Oregon-based musician Luke Wyland and on this record approximately thirty muusicians

A constant flurry of metallic percussion, semi-tonal piano and a ragged, nonsensical choir greets the listener at the beginning of Au’s sophomore album release ‘Verbs’. The Portland group is the work of Luke Wyland, a dedicated core of multi-instrumentalists and assembled friends (around 30 in all). They all seem to be having a good time, which may explain the name of the opening track ‘All My Friends’. It heads directly into the exuberant ‘Are Animals’, which adds a lot of whooping and clapping before suddenly shifting moods into a swift warble of electronics and some zippy pots-n-pans drumming. Becky Dawson’s lead vocals are almost submerged in the mix. The mood shifts on ‘Summerheat’ as the eerie sound of musical saw predominates as Luke Wyland sings “I need my love’ in a hushed and yearning voice before the saws depart and some glacial post-rock guitars take over – then there’s another change to some brisk cymbal clatter, guitar (lap steel and otherwise) and piano that might remind some of the Constellation label’s poppier output. There’s yet more jaunty piano, with a repeated theme that reminds if Phillip Glass, as ‘RR vs. D’ begins, then it’s on to some more exuberance: handclapping and tooting brass seem to predominate. 'All Myself' is a stately offering, with a melancholy piano motif repeating under a swell of trombone and marching clarinets while Wyland croons in the distance. It is tracks like this that have attracted comparisons to Grizzly Bear. For ‘Prelude’ Wyland switches to amplified accordion, working toward its destination alongside Mark Kaylor’s free-spirited drumming and Jonathan Sielaff’s bass clarinet. The tracks on ‘Verbs’ often blend together, and it’s only when Wyland starts singing (or by the track listing on one’s CD player) that the passage to ‘Waltz’ announces itself. Wyland finishes the album alone with the drowsy ‘Sleep’. The album goes by with remarkable speed in 38 minutes that feel like 20, and sounds a bit like a less noisy Animal Collective (another band it’s been frequently compared too) or OOlOO, and its gentility reminds of Monroe Mustang as well. Fans of the fringes of pop should give it a listen.

Track Listing:-
1 All My Friends
2 Are Animals
3 Summerheat
4 RR Vs. D
5 All Myself
6 Two Seasons
7 Prelude
8 The Waltz
9 Sleep

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