Bleeding Heart Narrative is the project of Londoner Oliver Barrett. His band makes what can best be described as 'atmospheric' post-rock. The music sort of dips and soars, in that way that post-rocky stuff is supposed to. On the group's MySpace Barrett says: "My approach to the music I make is centred around mistakes - both accidental and intentional - and trying to record as 'naturally' as possible." Yet while this improvisational recording technique can bring out the "best things", the lesser moments, he explains, "don't make it past the delete key".
That incongruity sort of sums up the group's debut album, All That Was Missing We Never Had In the World: despite the talk of improvisatory technique, of 'accidental' recording methods, there's still a finger hovering handily over that backspace button. It's symbolic of the failing of this kind of generic post-rock, somehow insistent as it is that it represents some kind of snapshot of or soundtrack to beautiful, incidental moments, while all the while, strangely contrived and conservative. Indeed, despite the good intentions, there's something predictable and dryly preconceived about All That Was Missing…
There are undoubtedly some nice moments here, the tinkling pianos on 'As If Yearning Was All...', or the Tim Hecker-esque 'A Nest'. Too often, however, the spontaneous collapses into the formulaic - melodramatic strings suddenly faded in, or mono-tonal vocals drifting in and out. Moreover, the record is far, far too long, the songs often drawn out to a length that confound your interest, or the track's own capacity to engage. Simplicity is always the key to successful atmospheric music - see the beauty of Colleen or Grouper, to name two. As nice as the record's packaging is, the music itself just isn't as focused or inventive as it thinks it is, or needs to be.
4Sam Lewis's Score