Scotland - Full Moon 66 - 02/27/02
Boards of Canada
Sometimes it's good to be proved wrong. You just have to let go of your pride and admit that
you jumped to a hasty conclusion. I was convinced that this album had little merit, that it
merely covered the same ground as Music Has The Right To Children (1998). Beautiful
ground, sure, but I was hoping for a leap forward in sound after the four-year hiatus since
their seminal debut. The In A Beautiful Place In The Country EP
reminded me just how great BoC are, but could they produce another classic long player?
Initially I thought not. On the first couple of listens I was extremely disappointed, the
songs sounding like inferior facsimiles of their predecessors. The trademark sound is the same:
crisp, inventive beat patterns, deeply satisfying synths, the chatter of manipulated voice
samples. But it's only on repeated listens that you feel how satisfying the whole is, and how
the overall tone has shifted slightly.
Suddenly the drums start to kick out at you: "Music Is Math" sounds phenomenal, and the
galloping stereo beats in "Gyroscope" are terrifying at high volume. The melodies, although
familiar, sound slightly skewed. And then you notice that on some tracks there's the moan of
women in the throes of orgasm. Oh yes: BoC are moving away from naive, childlike voices to
red-blooded, adult ejaculations (!).
The cover of the album conveys this shift in tone, with the rich, bloody oranges and reds
contrasting markedly with the cold, alien blues of "MHTRTC". The nature documentary feel of the
music is still there, but now feels red in tooth and claw.
BoC also seem to have got the hang of pacing an hour's worth of music. Their debut was packed
with great songs, but felt a little too long. Geogaddi has nothing to spare, and even the
tracks that seem weak at first open up kaleidoscopically later.
At least the equal of its predecessor, Geogaddi is a superb album. Just get used to
ignoring another swathe of imitators.
Copyright © 2002 Tim Clarke