Gather ’round the Campfire
Boards of Canada essentially screwed their career with their first album, Music Has The Right To Children, by creating a musical singularity, something that by definition could not be followed by anything that could elicit the listener response that it did. Universally praised, MHTRTC sounded like nothing that preceded it and little that has come since. It was a once-per-decade work that made you simply stare jaw-agape at whatever you were playing it on — stereo, computer, portable, whatever. It isn’t often that music astonishes, but this album did — and does. We wished them luck with future releases.
Peel Sessions, an EP, some remixes, a new track here and there for a compilation, a reissue of a limited release pre-first album (which was damn good) and then their second album-length effort, Geogaddi. This was a great album, better by far than most band’s first. But it was the just-attractive sister of a supermodel. Laudable, but.
So in comes album three, The Campfire Headphase. Still cursed by their first, BoC comes damn close to being reborn virgins on this one. It is a great album. Buy it when it comes out — in lieu of the P2P tracks you already have (like me). There’s more structure, more 4/4, but none of this seems to compromise their style.
BoC have discovered the guitar. This is not as problematic as you would think. Their classic detuned loveliness infects the strings too and is well-integrated. Three clustered tracks are the core of this album. Satellite Anthem Icarus is choice ambient material (not unlike recent Mr. Projectile). Peacock Tail is the standout track, happy and eerie like a stoned clown. And the deep echo on the bass after the rhythm literally falls to pieces is just powerful. Dayvan Cowboy is the soundtrack-worthy selection. It evokes late-Orbital sweepingness and drama that you’d never find in earlier work, but it achieves what it shoots for.
Enough already. This is good stuff. Get it if you can.