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The mesmerizing second album by Bristol’s weird post punk/kraut trio presents a stark and minimalist sound and dark mood on this absolutely compelling release.
The aptly titled “>>” is the second album by Beak>, a trio from Bristol consisting of Geoff Barrow (Portishead), Billy Fuller (Fuzz Against Junk) and Matt Williams (Team Brick) and started in 2009. The weird, stark, minimalist, in parts electronic, post punk music is in the vein of Joy Division, early New Order and sound experimenters Liars (“Wulfstan II” is strongly reminiscent of tracks from “Liars” and “Sisterworld”). Moreover, the album displays influences of Can’s minimalist psych-kraut and even a bit of late-sixties Pink Floyd (check out the organ flourishes and high-pitched voices at the end of “Wulfstan II”). “Liar” is straight out of one of John Carpenter’s eighties movies, it sounds like music from the soundtrack of “Escape from New York.” The dissonant caterwauling on “The Gaol” is a weird yet also intriguing opener, and this overture manages to set the mood for what follows on the subsequent nine tracks. Who feels that Liars are too experimental and should refocus on real, structured songs is actually in quite good hands with Beak>. Favorites on “>>” include “Spinning Top,” “Liar,” the absorbing “Wulfstan II” and “Elevator,” although the album as a whole is absolutely mesmerizing.