Artists: The Foreign Resort
Title: Scattered & Buried
Genre: Post Rock / Nu-Gaze / Post Punk
Release Date: 25th September 2012
Label: Monolathe Records
How would it feel if melancholy would have a graspable shape and ask you to spread your wings for diving with closed eyes in an pastel-coloured abyss of sadness, fragility, delight, despair and weightless disengagement? I’m not really sure, but it would probably be very close to the feeling ‘Scattered & Buried’ is exhaling, the new album of Copenhagen’s THE FOREIGN RESORT. Founded in 2006 in Denmark’s capital, their maverick stylistic mixture of New Wave, Post Rock, Shoegaze and Noise Pop, embracing a range from My Bloody Valentine to some distorted shades of The Cure and the epic of Mogwai (on their homepage you can find a more detailed list of influences, screening icons like Joy Division, NIN, Jesus & The Mary Chain and Sonic Youth!), quickly found a lot of adherents (especially on the other side of the ocean), benefited from a rampant live activity, that made them appear on stages together with names like The Raveonettes, Swervedriver and A Place To Bury Strangers. After their debut ‘Offshore’ in 2010 and the impressing self-titled EP “The Foreign Resort” in 2011, this fall sees the release of their second fulltime album, what’s almost a retrospective, because it includes remakes of older songs, some new tracks and some remixes. But I think it’s time to jump in...
The opener ‘Delayed’ (a new song) starts with some infernal feedbacks, which make you uncertain what to expect, but when the fragile vocals crawl in, begging:” Stop killing me, we should never be apart...” and walls of guitars and drums are crushing down on you, you’re immediately captured by this strange kind of sadness, that takes its energy from the shimmering melodies, which sparkle out of the distorted undergrowth of noisy guitars and pumping drums, reflected by the floating vocals of Mikkel Jakobsen, which seem to soothe and to pacify on that acoustic battlefield. ‘Buried’ (a new track also) comes along as a rearing punch made of hastening drums and an awesome bass, occupying the led guitar’s throne for creating a claustrophobic well shaft, wallpapered with distortion up to where you can guess a light. ‘Rocky Mountains’ initially appears as a menacing spiral of sawing guitars and gloomy soundscapes, like a storm raging above you, before a glittering melody leads warming strings and sunbeams through the dark, descending with vocals made of cracked glass, breathing vulnerability when it gets smilingly swallowed by the instruments´ ascendancy. It’s just a two minutes track, but it contains more tangibleness than many other complete albums!
‘Lost My Way’ is taken from their 2010 debut and between shades of The Killers’ playful dolorousness and The Cure’s unworried wistfulness, it shines by its somersaulting melodies, combined with the heartbreaking intonation, that always sounds like yielded up to its own fate, with a shrug on top of the world and down in the dumps. ‘Tide’ (one of my favourites) is masking itself as a eighties electro-pop track with sterile rhythms and crystal-clear synth-effects, focussing on the yearning and meditative voice, which is able to evoke an emotional density, which makes it difficult to breath by its impenetrability – a pure and innocent sadness, flowing out in a great melodic guitar and vocals, that sound (surely by chance) like Mr. Smith Himself, like a glistening light down the abyss. ‘Orange Glow’, taken from the ‘Foreign Resort’ EP and mixed by Novachild, sounds like a later electronic solo work of the above mentioned Smith, with a lot of factitious sounds and gadgets, contrasting with almost isolated drums and guitars what makes it hard to discern it as a unity. To be honest, it’s the first moment, that fails to keep the comforting embrace of atmosphere. It sounds too affected, too far away from the purity of the guarded melancholia.
‘Heart Breaks Down’ (again a remix from an old song) is an acoustic landscape with hovering horizons, light-flooded fields and a shy autumn sun, trying to effect, but missing the power. It’s a collage, a fleeting moment, lacking of some concreteness. Unfortunately with ‘The Opening Act’ we come across another remix, this time based on some danceable beats and it’s hard to describe, but the artificial tone colour seems to smother the songs soul! It always feels like an animal captured in a cage. If you were standing under a sky, watching the stars for the first half f the album, you’re now in a tent, watching astrological maps. I have o confess, that’s almost a shame! ‘Take A Walk’, one of the band’s live favourites, fortunately keeps it kittenish melancholic mood, with its wave-like synths and the Cure-ish vocal line, but also here the originals atmosphere is hidden under layers of too much electronic gimmicks. And so it’s liberating to end with an undisguised song, even it’s just an edit of the album’s opener ‘Delayed’. It’s good to hear real drums again and the presence of the guitars feels like blood flowing back in the veins. And why to alter those vocals, if they own this effect?
Summary: The first half of the album is an revelation for those, who love melancholy, who like to feel something, wanna be touched in heart and soul. It’s a free fall through blissful atrabiliousness, that whirls you around between happiness and sadness, between comforting resignation and healing yearning. The second part, containing the remixes, may be seen in an artistic context, but in my mind it fails to keep the songs alive, fails to keep their density and colour. So I would suggest to buy the older records for feeling the originals´ realness.
03. Rocky Mountains
04. Lost My Way (2012)
06. Orange Glow (Novachild Remix)
07. Heart Breaks Down (Sway Remix)
08. Opening Act (Evol Temptation Remix)
09. Take A Walk (Runner´s Mix)
10. Delayed (Radio Edit)
Mikkel B. Jakobsen – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Fischlein – Guitar
Patrick Ryming – Bass
Morten Hansen – Drums/Vocals
Total: 8 / 10