Review: Greymouth – Can Run (Cost of Living, Jan 27)

The spirit of Quemada Records lives on in Japan-based duo Greymouth and their consistently inventive output of squirrely anti-rock and tape-tracked outsider dross since 2015’s self-titled debut LP. That being said, Can Run might be their least rockin’ material yet, and certainly features the most uninterrupted improvisational stretches they’ve released. With the stuffy backroom tabletop feel and the use of both conventional instruments and objects/electronics, much of this tape feels more like a toy-chest Teletopa than the previous echoings of Armpit or Witcyst, and that, unsurprisingly, is A-OK with me. The majority of the two twentyish-minute sides, though not exactly filled with high-fidelity stereo width, plays as if one were sitting in the center of a shed while Anderson and Sadgrove make their slow, deliberate rounds along the rows of plastic synths and tape machines and tchotchkes, setting a loop to unspool here, fiddling with a dial there. It all seems to lead somewhere and nowhere at once, an aspect that is perhaps clearest on the B side, which sounds like a whole lot of (albeit beautiful) water-treading, until guest vocalist Motoko Kikkawa—who has previously recorded with excellent but unsung collaborators (and house favorites) Lee Noyes and Radio Cegeste—enters the fold and you realize how much everything has progressed. Yes, this is probably the project’s most abstract work, but no matter how many remnants of recognizable “music” are or aren’t present, Greymouth always fully draw me into their ramshackle little world.

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