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REVIEW: Heinali & Matt Finney – Conjoined (2010 / Paradigms Recordings 2011)

Having reviewed Rumour Cubes latest EP last week and outlining my own troublesome reactions to post-rock, a new record came to my attention: Conjoined, the latest release from composer/spoken word-duo Heinali & Matt Finney.

Had I heard this record before, I may have understood my cognitive dissonance about post-rock a little better. For this dark, heavy, brooding monolith of doomgaze (not a term I coined, but utterly perfect and not a jot over-the-top) could not embody cognitive dissonance any more; paranoid, claustrophobic, and infinitely intriguing.

Using abstract, flowing song structures, wormhole-collapsing reverb and spoken-word interludes cut like clips from a film, Conjoined creates its own mise-en-scène, subconciously spawning the pictures to said unmade motion picture. The production of the vocals is the cleverest in creating this; willingly dirty and hissy, and delivered with the sort of patience needed to get through the oppressive/impressive soundscapes it accompanies.

Title song Conjoined presents the most perfect execution of the aesthetic here. The ‘hook’ of the piece, if you can call it that – a faint squealing melody far in the background – tweaks away at your ear like a wished-forgotten memory that still, if you were honest, leaves you full of melancholy. It drops away to leave just a heavy, throbbing bass and Matt Finney’s knowing drawl for a verse – “The war was happening either way; all you could do was be for or against it. This is back when things were bright; before the rubble reached our towns”. Only a handful of lines are uttered. Then that memory comes back and, for the remainder of the track, plays like a stuck record, like a log in your eye.

The record recalls the boisterous wall-of-noise of bands like The Twilight Sad but without the pop-structure limitations, and takes the heavier, almost post-metal of Russian Circles or Cloudkicker and eschews the obvious instrumentation. Herein lies the weakpoint of the record, though, where some of the overly-distorted, almost nu-metal sounding guitars, particularly in the opening two tracks, totally belie the mature and enveloping instrumentation of the latter four tracks.

Having recently signed to Paradigms Recordings, Conjoined is due to see a formal release in the next few of months. A couple of tracks from the record, along with a few other releases, including an excellent cover of The Cure‘s Plainsong, are available to listen to on their Bandcamp.

James TAE

By James TAE

James TAE is a Music and Tech Journalist, Editor for Spotisfaction, and writer for God Is In The TV and London Tour Dates magazine. Follow him @James_TAE

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