CD Review: Legendary Pink Dots, Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves
May 26th, 2006 at 16:00 by Stuart Heritage
There comes a point at every single house party where, after the casuals have trundled off home, someone will say “Put Dark Side Of The Moon on,” and everyone will sit around talking about how Digby, The Biggest Dog In The World is, like, a metaphor for life while The Great Gig In The Sky plays in the background.
And this part of the house party is always rubbish. But we’re digressing. Legendary Pink Dots have been peddling this ‘3am talking shit’ shtick for 25 years now, and the latest Legendary Pink Dots album Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves is another yet example of this. Which would be annoying, if only Legendary Pink Dots didn’t do it so bloody well.
At first, listening to Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves by Legendary Pink Dots is slightly akin to drowning in treacle; the album comes with a quote from Legendary Pink Dots singer Edward Ka-Spel saying:
“This is an album about mortality and immortality… Your victims are lining up on both sides of the corridor, unborn yet forgiving. We are all pitifully human and we all want to take everything with us at the end, but there is no end…”
And then, with a newly heavy heart, you listen to opening track Count On Me is a listless piano doodle with a man saying “Are you able to tell us what it is you have nightmares about?”. It’s like listening to an episode of Blue Jam without the funny doctor bits, and it takes some getting used to.
Once you’ve altered your brainspace to accommodate Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves by Legendary Pink Dots, though, it’s a surprisingly rewarding listen. There’s nothing remotely catchy here – only the lankest-haired, most red-eyed milkman will be caught whistling these tunes – and, with an average track time of almost six minutes, nothing remotely immediate, either.
Slowly, though, the skewed intricacies of Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves start to show themselves off, and you can’t help but be impressed. Imagine a big Syd Barrett comeback album produced by Boards Of Canada – that’s the space that Legendary Pink Dots are inhabiting with Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves. Feathers At Dawn couldn’t be any more like Effervescing Elephant if it tried, while A Silver Thread is so ambient it hardly exists – a heartbeat of a drum pattern, few snatches of creepy saxophone and Ka-Spel mumbling about something incomprehensible and menacing, like a version of Pzizz designed expressly to give you giant shrieking nightmares.
Elsewhere, moments of Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves could almost come from a proposed soundtrack of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me that was rejected for being too unsettling. But that isn’t to say that Legendary Pink Dots are incapable of incredible prettiness; The Island Of Our Dreams is a slice of pastoral loveliness, and any song that features the word “ostensibly” – like Please Don’t Get Me Wrong – is worthy of repeated listens.
Touchingly, Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves ends with one of the Legendary Pink Dots half whispering the words “Thank you.” The pleasure is all ours.
[review by Stuart Heritage]