Lovers of ethereal, trip-hop and similar styles should check out this second album by Autodrone, a project of guitarist Jeremy Alisauskas, formerly of Projekt group Unto Ashes. This 10-track album, written by Alisauskas and keyboardist Angel Lorelei, appears to have aimed at relieving some personal grief and even despair as embodied in the plaintive vocals by the lyricist Katherine Kennedy, whose singing suggests Kate Bush calling from captivity, perhaps trapped in a cave.
The opening track, “Corvus” (Crow) begins with a simple organ riff, the keyboard manned by second guitarist Markus Fabulous, formerly of Psychic TV, and introduces the faraway-sounding female vocals that set a melancholy mood for the rest of the album. A similar pattern is heard on the second track “Exit Ghost” but with a little more rhythmic complexity provided by drummer Terry Taylor. Percussion complexity intensifies in the next track “Le Voleur” (The Thief) and serves in this and further tracks as a vehicle for the deliciously sad, yearning female vocals.
The fourth track “The Way Way Down” is more upbeat—to the point of being very danceable—with enthusiastic drumming, synthesizer and organ riffs, still in the service of Angel Lorelei’s disconsolate voice, and the fifth track even more rapidly paced into an actual gallop. The vocals soar to heart-rendering heights.
With the sixth track “Thunderbolt,” the cadence slows to a lumbering trudge through emotional pain and a sense of resignation. In the seventh track, the vocals become intentionally muddled and begin to merge with the instrumental accompaniment which comes to the fore, and presents a couple of captivating hooks.
A deep drone opens the happily gloomy eighth track, the “Lay of the Land,” but it turns into a structured mantra with—again—amazing cadenzas by Katherine Kennedy, who matches her melodious wailing during the ninth track as well. The tenth track is two and a half minutes of voiceless electronica, in keeping with the tradition observed by many electronic-based groups.
If you are a fan of shoe-gaze, mystical sounding, new-age-y music; if you are looking to expand your appreciation beyond This Mortal Coil, or supplement your desire for more in the Cocteau Twins genre, this album is for you.