3 out of 5
Produced by: The Double U, Greg Freeman
This is a great Double U album.
Glands of External Discretion do their usual abstraction shtick, with the twist that the Double U album – disc 1 of this two disc set, Glands’ contribution as disc 2 – serves as the base.
Now my boss here should already be clear: I like Double U, but I’ve never gone in for GoES’ non-music; their cut-up approach is interesting – and it is, in spots, fun to hear how far they stretch their versions of the Double material – but something being interesting doesn’t necessarily equate to a satisfying listening experience, and so you’d put on a Glands’ disc as a lark and not necessarily because you have a craving for it. And so it goes with this two disc set. Even if you were to listen to the “de-mixed” takes first, and thus hear Double U’s versions as tightened up renditions of the originals, I don’t think there’s enough to latch onto on disc two to make it merit repeat listens. More directly: even if the experimental thing Glands do is your bag, I think they’ve done more interesting work. This does pop up on their disc’s last few tracks – and via some of the random samples sprinkled in earlier – when they stray so far from the reservation that you’d be hard-pressed to say it resembles the original in any way – but overall, the requirement to come back around to a core riff or a take on Double U’s throaty vocals feels like a limitation.
So again, to Glands’ half: Interesting, but not necessarily remarkable. Three stars.
Double U’s bit I’m much more glowing toward, but with less analysis. During their relatively short tenure, DU delivered a consistently pleasing selection of… viking-esque, follsy, funereal marches, occasionally topped with unintelligible kermit-croaked vocals. …Or something like that. Their style was undeniably unique but approached with delicacy and flourished oh-so-occasionally with the right touches – horns, synths, what have you – such as to not see it as a joke or affectation, rather an oddball brew cooked up to perfection by its players. The format is self-limiting: “albums” flow together well but don’t necessarily build up to anything. To.counter this, run times are generally kept short and sweet, and though DU’s style can’t be said to have evolved much from album to album – this one included – the songs are different. So a group figured out what they wanted to do, and then immediately started doing it well, and recorded a few snapshots of that wellness. This album could be said to be even more concise than usual, with a sort of dreamy sing-songy tone carried throughout the disc, but still: If you’ve liked one Double U experience, it’s very likely you’ll feel the same here.
Double U rates a four from me, so we’ll average the whole thing – in our non half-star world – to a three.