(Southern Lord)


BIG|BRAVE live up to the former more than ever on their latest release. The Montreal, Quebec trio have consistently dealt in post-rock vaster than anything left of Southern Lord labelmates Sunn O))), and the three 10-plus minute megaliths that make up the length of ‘Ardor’ are fine examples of the bloody-minded formula they’ve been touting since 2014’s debut ‘Feral Verdure’ – so much so it eventually gets perniciously same-y.

Opener ‘SOUND’ unfolds Swans-like into a pendulous swagger, while ‘LULL’ counterpoints with an unexpectedly tender lament. Vocalist and guitarist Robin Wattie’s howls (“I miss you is all I can say”) writhe over the precipice between the muted hits of drummer Louis-Alexandre Beauregard and guitarist Mathieu Bernard Ball. This is BIG | BRAVE at their taciturn best – seemingly on the verge of unravelling. Violinist Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra) and Contrabassoonist Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) deftly deepen the crevices and shade the corners without tempering the group’s calculated din.

Sadly, once the finale ‘BORER’ comes around, we’re right back where we started with a routine death-groove. ‘Ardor’ is ultimately a conflicting record; by the time it comes to its long-overdue end, you’ll marvel at how a sound so awesome can become so trite.

Support Loud And Quiet from £4 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £4 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£7 per month) and the rest of the world (£9 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.