You may consider Blueneck to be post/progressive rock veterans at this stage -after all, they’ve been pretty much at the forefront of the European underground experimental scene since their formation in 2000.
With four critically acclaimed albums under their belts including 2012’s vocal-free Epilogue, it’s become fair to say aficionados never know quite what to expect from the North Somerset band – a band which have seen more of Europe in recent years than a busy budget airline.
There’s nothing ‘budget’ about new album King Nine.
Opening track Counting Out is a case of start as you mean to go on. Its gentle, swaying opening gives way to a biting, crisp beat which cruises effortlessly hand in hand with the dreamy, melancholy vocal of Duncan Attwood – and it’s Attwood’s haunting vocal which provides the heart of an album which deepens superbly as it unfolds. Second track Sirens isolates and showcases further that hushed and charmingly warm vocal wonderfully.
Title track King Nine is an intriguing exploration of that aforementioned depth. By now there’s a hint of Radiohead’s Amnesiac – but nothing more than that – a hint serving as a reminiscent sprinkling of vague familiarity.
Broken Fingers is bursting with reflective delight – it carries that hazy dream-like feel, set amid soft percussion and piano against a back-drop of warm and endearing strings.
To say that King Nine is a ‘grower’ simply doesn’t do it justice – it’s far too easy. There’s a rich diversity here ranging from the droning, low tempo and spellbinding – to the powerful, heavy alt rock crescendo – both of which are gloriously evident in Mutatis.
Three years in the making and oozing the kind of charisma one only finds when exploring a genuine labour of love, the album is undoubtedly born from a mixed bag of inspirations. That said, King Nine is one of those records which doesn’t beg the question – it stands alone, providing an inspiration all of its own.
King Nine, the fifth studio album from Blueneck is available from November on Denovali Records.