Thursday, 16 June 2011

Consonant - 'Love and Affliction' (Fenway)

Promo copy with no cover, hence this photo of the back. One of the justifications for these blogs is to rediscover all of the music I've accumulated in my life and revisit/reevaluate old memories. The previous post on Consonant clearly shows that my feelings from ten years age are still strong; just like then, the dulcet tones of 'What a Body Could Do' are now lodged in my day-to-day consciousness, and the song's melodic beauty and romantic longing ring more true than ever. I loved that Consonant album, almost irrationally, except it's really actually fantastic and worthy of the love, so there's nothing irrational here. So how to deal with Love and Affliction, the followup which I never really listened to in 2003? I mean, I did listen to it, several times, but it just never grabbed me like the first album. Or more accurately, I thought it was fine, but it just made me want to listen to 'Post-Pathetic' again instead of these new songs. Revisiting it with fresh ears, I feel pretty much the same. This isn't a radically different record than its predecessor - the lineup is the same, the songs are written again in collaboration with Holly Anderson, and the production is almost identical. There are maybe a few darker tinges to the rocky cliffs of guitar chords - opener 'Little Murders', named perhaps after one of my favourite films in history, is stark in it's raucous crashing, a theme returned to in 'Cauldron'. There are still pop hooks and vocal harmonies layers with the fuzz, with 'Mysteries of the Holiday Camp' holding a particularly brittle beauty. 'Cry' brings in the slightest country tendencies, but it's familiar, confident indie guitar rock otherwise. I think this was it for Consonant; Conley's been busy with Mission of Burma again, whose newer output hasn't interested me much either, but I admit I haven't given it a fair listen. Love and Affliction will stay on this CD shelf forever, because I can't find a bad thing to say about it; it's just never going to have the familiar, sentimental resonance of the first album.

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