This was my most anticipated album of 2004. I
have been in love with the Auburn Lull sound since i first heard
them in 2000. My fondness was cemented in 2002, when i finally
got a copy of the re-release
of their debut album. Since then, there have been little
snippets -- tracks on a few of the Little Darla Has a
Treat for You compilations and a Belgian 7" -- all of
which pointed at very good things to come. Specifically, these
omens pointed towards Auburn Lull adding more electronic sounding
beats to their exquisite drones. These snippets made me really
want to hear more.
And so, at last, Cast From the Platform landed in my CD player this May. I have listened to this album many many times since then. It has the same slow drones as were found on Alone I Admire, but the beats are somewhat more focused here in their increased electronical nature. Additionally, the vocals seem slightly more prominent. It is as it Auburn Lull are moving towards pop music, albeit at their own (ever so glacial) pace.
I adore every track on this album. I often sit and listen to it, it's calm tones filling my apartment with washed out ambience. Even so, there are a few tracks that stand out above the rest.
Jersey Narrows is a stunningly beautiful song built out of subtle electronic beats, keyboard drones, and mellow voice. In fact, the vocals here remind me somewhat of the voice in The Blue Nile, with a hushed and proper pronunciation style. Eventually lush strings join in, bringing the song to a very pretty climax.
Deterior just glows and grows. It starts with a nice enough intro, then it gets real frenetic with Slowdive-y guitar arpeggios, military drumming, and harmonized vocals. Vocal harmony also really makes Seaforth work. This is a song built out of the cascading waves of guitar sounds. The guitar just builds and builds, and the voices sing harmony floating on the haze of guitar. It's a really excellent use of layering.
Sovereign Messages involves more keyboard than guitar, which is somewhat
unusual on this album. However, the piano part is lovely, and
it is backed to great effect by some strong drumming. This song
flows logically into Shallow in Youth, which starts with
a thudding drum beat a la early Dead Can Dance and a great bass
riff, both of which are then swallowed by guitars. This song
is a mellower version of what Bethany
Curve do, and here Auburn Lull do it well. The climax of
the song is a flurry of cymbals that crash down into a vocal
"aah"-ing part over those same primal drums from the beginning.
In some ways, the ending reminds me of the stronger moments
on the last Potomac Accord disc in that a power emotional catharsis
is present in the climax and end of the song. Very nicely done.
Overall, i am tremendously impressed. I had high expectations for this album, and Cast From the Platform met or exceeded all of them. Auburn Lull continue to be a band to watch out for. This is a very strong album, and an essential purchase for fans of ambient music.