Guest Review: Paul Ray on Shit Creek’s The Land of the Remember (Crow Versus Crow, Mar 27)

The Land of the Remember opens with a barrage of effervescent noise, spits of sparkling sound fizzing and glitching joyfully around the stereo field. It’s noise music at its giddiest and most escapist, digitally abstracted and fucked musical artifacts collapsing in on themselves and singing radiantly. Although the album doesn’t sustain this sonic intensity throughout its entire sublime 40 minutes, all the songs on Shit Creek’s latest and best record are built around a remarkably generous feeling of bliss. It’s drone as fairytale, noise as vivid escape.

Amid the islands of roaring fuzz lie bucolic, shapeshifting ambient compositions which ripple and shimmer like dust floating in a sunlit room. On the two title tracks, warping organ chords sustain themselves tenuously in the oozing sonic liquid, buoyed by un-selfconsciously uplifting melodies and snatches of garbled voice. “Terry Houndface,” perhaps the album’s most straightforwardly beautiful cut, is a reverie of watery sound, snatches of alienated voice, and guitar and piano fragments which sound like the patter of rainfall. Not boring grey rainfall, rainfall when it’s hot and humid and strange outside. “Pram Racers” is a 3/4 waltz of bitcrushed synths, a deeply calming and nostalgic texture amid the bewildering beauty surrounding it, while “Little Solas” reminds me of Animal Collective at their freak-folk peak, with multitudes of roughly (yet also so softly!) strummed acoustic guitars co-existing alongside a percussive Morse code, which sounds like someone tapping a plate.

And then there are the noise tracks. “This Is the Trap” is nearly seven minutes of metallic playfulness, a pulsing drone foundation underpinning the pirouetting whisps of melodic fizz. “This is Nowhere, and It’s Forever” sets up an undulating drone and then builds on it in 4ths and 5ths, as if loudly playing in a huge resonant chamber. It’s lazy writing to deploy too many comparisons to other artists, but these ebullient noise tracks remind me of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma at his most blissful and distorted. The Land of the Remember is a wonderful, emotional collision of noise, drone and ambient techniques, coalescing into a work of escapism and beautiful technicolour.