THE 9 PEARLS ON THE TRAIL (IAP)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
Although I thought this band were Italian the press release has them down as a UK cult band, and suggests this specially packaged release contains there previous albums, All The Colours Of Death and What The Hollow Shows Through. (A single, ‘The 45 Monsters’ and a new album are on their way shortly.) And something must have happened while trying to release this, due to the terse message, ‘”Thanks…to those four bugger shits that tried to obstruct the realisation of this album, because they just made it more powerful and strong.” Unless it is a re-release, surely, in which case it’s as powerful, strong or weak as it ever was?
It comes in a weird translucent hexagonal package, with the CD able to be taken out from beneath a flap, which looks nice, and it instantly warms you heart with a stark clash of synth or violin, portentous suggestions from the lightly spoken female voice and noises which may be the first medieval car alarm.
There is skimpy guitar in ‘No fate’ which helps galvanise the spirited drum machine and it’s got that thin, rangy 90’s sound. You wouldn’t go far wrong imagining early Inkubus Sukkubus, but slowly their character emerges and it’s very definitely artistic. They clearly have no idea of song length and having hit their stride seem to go on forever,. But that’s90’s bands for you. A lot of that happened then.
‘Non Peau Vert’ is maudlin, with the strange French vocals oozing over a bruised beat, where attractive keyboards and angry guitar grapple happily, and there’s a passionate stream of ideas throughout the album as though being able to listen in on a musical conversation that frequently becomes argumentative. There are light operatic touches clearly visible and often the atmosphere s important, with the drums held down and fluttering, vocals then allowed to gold out attention before guitars flood in.
They can be supremely sour, like with ‘Kyuh Jesse’ with the bare vocals exploring the space between the sharp instruments, and shrill vocal dramatics erupt as though from a native American tribal dance. Bells for a dour lament bring through the historical flavour to ‘Ad Memoriam’, ‘E Lucean’ is a Tosca snapshot spread out with remarkable vocal passion and they rush off in spectral theatrics at the end, so you ought to check them out if you missed it first time round. It’s really very good.