29 Nov 2020
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The Impending Adorations - Album Review: Allies

23 Oct 2019 // A review by Mike Alexander
Paul McLaney is one of those artists who never fails to get me where I’m most vulnerable, least alive and yet open to the possibility of being transported somewhere beyond myself.

I’ve been listening to Allies, his latest release as Impending Adorations, while attempting to rediscover a new purpose in an old life.

It has bought me unexpected solace. It whispers rather than shouts, it intimates rather than openly provokes. It has an aliveness and integrity to it that often hints at a familiar melody that you once knew but had forgotten, a fragrance that invigorates your senses but whose source you can’t quite identify and a sense of purpose to it that is open-ended enough to reveal itself as something different upon repeated listens. Construction, reconstruction. Presence, absence, Body, soul. Memory, awakening.

Allies has a simple dedication to M.R.W. and is composed of nine tracks, the most immediate of which are The Ladder, Breathe In/Breathe Out, Sons & Daughters, All At Once and A New Conversation. They are suggestive rather than obvious with lyrics, when they are perceptible (as far as I can make out), - "it’s not working, we are talking past each other, all else is an accusation" (The Ladder), "all at once it overtakes me, though I dealt with this long ago, how can the emotion travel such a distance come from my resistance, I don’t know" (All At Once) - that hang in the air, sometimes fragile at others echoing some long forgotten truth, questioning, probing and finding their own resolution in a matrix of compelling textures, earthy rhythms, over-dubbed vocals, rich electric guitar lines and found and electronically manipulated sounds.

There is no obvious road map to Allies so you just have to navigate yourself through each episode as it unfolds. Perhaps, this is what McLaney intended. As a musician and composer he is steeped in his own past influences that suggest a love of the string arrangements of Beatles arranger George Martin, the other-worldly clicks, beats and stilted rhythms of Can, while his vocal style is reminiscent of David Bowie, during his Berlin trilogy of collaborations with Brian Eno, and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis.

What is most evident though from all of his releases as Impending Adorations is that McLaney is one of those artists who, through his music, creates the kind of spaces where you can lose something of yourself you thought you knew and find something new about yourself you might never have conceived of.
Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

Releases

Allies
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Threshold
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Spectator
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Further
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Intentions
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Gestalt
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Broken Science
Year: 2011
Type: EP

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