Boards Of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Three and a bit years on from ‘Geogaddi’ and a whole seven since ‘Music Has the Right to Children’, the now official siblings are back with what they deem their most complete and candid album to date. Wrapped in a brazenly turquoise cover that suggests we’re gonna be glancing over our shoulder throughout (and that looks miraculously close to the “Music Has The Right” Sleeve), ‘Campfire Headphase’ is a surprisingly upfront affair; what you see appears to be what you get, and whilst this initially seems (whisper it please!), well, boring, the old charm soon starts to seep through. What with the level of anticipation surrounding the Scot duo reaching McFly dribbling levels of hysteria (you know who you are), it would have been easy for BOC to submit a box-ticking LP of greatest hits material; a route they choose to shun. Opening with a queasy kaleidoscope of sun-warped ambience (‘Into The Rainbow Vein’), constructed around a precarious acoustic guitar part, Boards then do what they do best; layer it up with echo-fed beats, wispy bits and all manner of mermaid atmospherics, resulting in a sound that is wholly their own yet marinated with some plucked string reticence. Ah, this’ll be the acoustic album then? Well kind of; with the thrumming tones popping up again straight away on ‘Satellite Anthem Icarus’, hoisted clear of the folktronica quagmire by some very Schnauss-like sunsets and the supine ‘Peacock Tail’ with its dawn-chorus samples. Elsewhere, ‘Dayvan Cowboy’ is a sprawling Kevin Shields-indebted (some might say Zero 7 indebted.) grandstander that ignites your cochlea through 1000 drums, ‘Oscar See Through Red Eye’ is the closest fly-by of Geogaddi’s lascivious intent, whilst ‘Slow This Bird Down’ defies any lexical parameters. Given that we’d have all bought it anyway, Boards of Canada have once again proved why their faded Super8 sound has defined a generation’s record collection. Not a great album by any means but….the Boards are back in town.
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