Legendary Pink Dots
Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves
Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2006
By: Matthew Johnson
A renewed emphasis on guitars results in one of the Legendary Pink Dots’ most subtly beautiful albums in years.
The Legendary Pink Dots’ approach to music can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re not prepared for it. With everything from clanking industrial sounds to dissonant wailing horns, the Dots touch on a myriad of musical forms, from free jazz to psychedelia, industrial noise to ambient and progressive rock, without actually being part of any of them, and the sheer mass of their musical output borders on bewildering. The band’s latest full-length album, however, is a surprisingly tranquil outing for the Dots, more a somber meditation than a chaotic freak-out. It features some of the band’s most traditional arrangements; the electronics are still present, of course, but as often as not they hover quietly in the background, letting acoustic guitar progressions carry the musical weight. “The Island of Our Dreams,” in particular, is soft and intimate, with strummed chords adorned only by watery pianos and the occasional sampled chime, while “Feathers at Dawn” incorporates a theremin-like keyboard effect and bits of bouncing brass to give the folk-inspired strums a touch of the Dots’ signature carnival atmosphere. Singer Edward Ka-Spel is in fine form here, starting off with the child-like but menacing sing-song of “No Matter What You Do” and punning cleverly on the current Iraq conflict on “Please Don’t Get Me Wrong,” a beautifully eclectic masterpiece that starts off as a sort of industrialized dub track before meandering into creepy yet mournful Middle Eastern territory. For fans of the band’s more psychedelic elements, “The Made Man’s Manifesto” is a classic jam, with guitars wailing over a hypnotically building synth pulse, while “Peace of Mind” is stonily soporific, with Ka-Spel chanting rhythmically over slow, metallic percussion and Niels van Hoorn’s dreamy saxophones. While keeping all of the experimental elements intact and incorporating some of the Dots’ most intelligent songwriting, Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves is perhaps the band’s best release since 2002’s brilliant All the King’s Horses, if not even before.