forest_swords

Some of these down-tempo, murky electronic tracks can feel like a let down on record. Sure, they might make for an atmospheric film score, or a rousing element at a sound installation, but there is always the risk that they could come across a little laboured when left to fend for themselves. This latest body of songs from Matthew Barnes aka Forest Swords is not in need of these superfluities, and ‘Engravings’ manages to remain accessible without sacrifice. Completed in the space of a year, the resulting concoction is one that is as refreshingly organic, slow paced and engulfing as the Wirral peninsula where Barne’s debut album was created.

Since 2010 EP ‘Dagger Paths’, Barnes’ sound has refined – his beats sharpened, vocals more pronounced – while dub and drone still collide with a disturbing beauty, from the mesmerising, ghostly vocals of ‘Ljoss’ to the bleak, industrial, train-like beats of ‘Onward’ and the gothic guitar of ‘The Plumes’, a track that could be lost from The Cures ‘Disintegration’.

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