The Whispering Wall (Grave Concerns)

Artist: Legendary Pink Dots
CD Title: The Whispering Wall
Label: ROIR
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 8/19/04
Legendary Pink Dots- The Whispering Wall

More upbeat than their last double-CD, the newest album from the Legendary Pink Dots moves in new directions while retaining the essential elements of their unique formula. Front man Edward Ka-Spel’s unmistakable voice leads the way, singing in soft a capella on “Rising Pleasure,” wailing brokenly on the blues-infused “King Of A Small World,” and rambling through the paranoid spoken-word fable “The Divide.” The Silverman’s keyboards are subtle but effective, adding a modern feel to the droning dub of “A Distant Summer” while taking us back in time with the echoing church bells and gorgeous piano melodies of “No Walls, No Strings.” Niels Van Hoornblower’s saxophones are as exceptional as ever, giving us spiraling flickers of jazz on “Soft Toy” and even hints of mariachi on the perky “Peek-A-Boo,” and new guitarist Erik Drost proves himself with the mellow atmospherics of “For Sale” and the good old-fashioned instrumental space rock of “The Region Beyond.” Though most of this material falls squarely into the psychedelic rock genre, there is still plenty of the Dots’ signature strangeness, best exemplified by the song “Dominic,” which starts out with slow, jazzy chords before lunging inexplicably into a frantic melange of calliope and sea shanty. The fact that Ka-Spel begins the first verse by inviting us to “make an omelet out of Egghead” proves that despite catchy hooks and pleasant melodies, the Dots are as weird and wonderful as ever.


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