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Sweeter As the Years Roll By

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Album Review

Post-rock as exploratory, free jazz-influenced pseudo-genre never really died, it just found odder corners to keep exploring away quietly in. Thus German quartet Heaven And, who on Sweeter as the Years Roll By conjure up an enjoyable series of exploratory songs. The mix of approaches on the album shows that Heaven And don't so much have a set sound as a general approach, centering on the two percussion players at the heart of the group, Tony Buck and Steve Heather, while Martin Siewert and zeitblom create textures and understated melodies around them. The results range from noisy feedback cascades over shuffling percussion on "Bring Back Those Happy Days" to the calm chimes and soft flow that lead into a gently roiling rollock of drums on "Parade," and if the album itself feels more like an enjoyable trifle than a striking effort, it's still good listening that is very much a hallmark of a Staubgold label release. In a sharp guest move, Einstürzende Neubaten veteran Alexander Hacke delivers the two sole vocal turns on the album for "Scarlet Woman" and "Prince Priest" — if his delivery is no more than moodily minimal demi-spoken word, it actually suits the equally atmospheric music, and when on the former Heather's beats begin to slowly build up, the result is one of the better Scott Walker tributes in a while. "Prince Priest," in contrast, sounds like one of the worse ones — the raspy voices on The Drift should only be handled cautiously by anyone out of context.

Sweeter As the Years Roll By, Heaven And
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