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The Long Afternoon of Earth

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Album Review

Split into two complementary EPs presented in an elaborate, elegant booklet featuring overlapping photography and detailed liner notes, The Long Afternoon of Earth is not only one of Caethua's most striking artistic statements to date, but ultimately perhaps, her grimmest. As her thank you notes conclude, she wishes well to all others who feel "the overwhelming desire to live long if only to experience industrial collapse." The theme of humanity and the planet's approach to its final days echoes throughout the album, from its overall title to songtitles such as "Highways in the Deathlight" and "The Old Ones Go First." Heard straight through, these feelings are sometimes more suggestive than direct, but there's an air of understated, melancholic contemplation throughout the two discs, Caethua's soft keen of a voice and calm guitar set against various further elements. On the first disc, No Man's Land, the emphasis is primarily on her own performance, with additions like guest turns on accordion and viola adding shading, as does the sound of flowing water and gusting winds, all feeling like slightly forlorn lullabies in an emptiness suggested by the EP's title. In contrast, Into the Dog-Dayed Night — title track taken from the work of Dylan Thomas — works with crumbling electronics and keyboards while exploring the same understated song structures, finding a softly decaying elegance to explore in songs like "Day Break" and "Old Cat." It may be a portrayal of the world ending with a whimper and not a bang, but it is a gently compelling one nonetheless.

The Long Afternoon of Earth, Caethua
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