Exposé Online banner

The Fierce and the Dead — Spooky Action
(Bad Elephant, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-03-09

Spooky Action Cover art"Majestic." Now there's an adjective you don't see applied much to music in the last few decades, especially not any music that derives in anyway from an aesthetic of noise or punk. But it is a word that came to mind more than once as I listened to The Fierce and the Dead. There is an architectural majesty to the way they build their music up from a foundation of repeating patterns (often in odd meters), over-driven bass, and drums that tie it together. Other bands have discovered that heavily distorted sounds can be beautiful, but this band does it in a different way, layering it over mathy underpinnings in a manner that really works. Spooky Action is an example of the kind of beauty that is not delicate and quiet, but massive and even frightening — a wind-blown mountain, not a butterfly or a flower. All of which is not to say that the album lacks delicacy: halfway through, they provide us with an intermission of ambient textures, and many of the pieces have sections with a lighter touch, where the bass is less fuzzed-out and the guitars take on clean, ringing tones. In addition to the band's standard two guitars, bass, and drums, guests provide brass and cello on a few tracks. Their sense of dynamics provides a real drama that ebbs and flows as the tracks develop. TFATD is an outstanding entry into the fields of math-, post-, and prog- rock, well worth checking out and worthy of attention outside their native England.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): The Fierce and the Dead

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Roach - Landmass & A Deeper Silence – Most of the Steve Roach releases we have reviewed in these pages are on the Projekt label. Timeroom Editions is his private label, offering additional releases from this prolific artist, available for...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues