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The Goslings - Spaceheater

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Artist: The Goslings

Album: Spaceheater

Label: Asaurus

Review date: Apr. 5, 2005

Asaurus is a small CD-R label run out of suburban Detroit, and serves as home to such magnificently/disastrously named artistes as Pants Yell, The 32-Bit Handhelds and, lest we forget, Elliott the Letter Ostrich. Each release is a labour of love, finely packaged and full of sounds that traverse the fine line between leftfield exploration and indie-rock convention.

Despite their fey sounding moniker, The Goslings frequent the more experimental side of the shoreline. Spaceheater opens impressively with “In May,” almost 13 minutes of shuddering Sunn O)))/Growing-style drone-fest that would warm the cockles of any doom rocker’s heart. Distorted rumbles, scorching feedback and a wall of amp-buzz haze create a prolonged introduction until, 11 minutes in, the sonic fog is lifted, giving way to a tapestry of plaintive organ meditation, field recordings and a ghostly, wordless vocal that recalls those parts during Loveless where you thought your turntable was about to grind to a smoking standstill.

The remaining three tracks all sound as if they were assembled by committee; sonic collages of disparate parts resulting in pieces that seem more like a collection of miniature vignettes than anything concrete. It’s as if the group lack confidence in their creations, failing to invest sufficient faith or time in any one direction. But what the music lacks in cohesion, it more than makes up in naïve charm – see, for instance, the evocative use of soundscapes during the finale of “Statuette,” as the eerie sound of splashing water is juxtaposed with the conversation of crickets and a faint industrial hum. It all serves to conjure up some deserted dustbowl plucked straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “Lillian” lets the side down just a little with a non-eventful take on themes better explored elsewhere on the EP. The use of manipulated vocal speeds seems tokenistic, rather than in anyway integral or complementary to the plot.

The final track, “Summer For Spring” begins with a peel of damaged church bells and birdsong, up until the half-way point where the whole things shifts, morphing into an acid-soaked take on a Low ballad or the madrigals of Tara Burke’s Fursaxa, leaving behind just the vaguest remnant of a song.

By Spencer Grady

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