It's perhaps wrong to begin a review of Band A by mentioning Band B, but what the fuck: The Duke Spirit. I really like the London quintet, whose sometimes bombastic, sometimes serene music is complimented wonderfully by the sixty-a-day soul of frontwoman Liela Moss. Live, they can paint pictures with guitar strings and drum sticks; on record, they can both quicken the pulse and soothe the most wounded of hearts. But they're no Lion Fever.
This instance's Band A hail from Portland (no, not in Dorset) and number four; this, their debut, is both wonderfully dark and graphically dreamy, as menacing as it is mesmirising. Vocalist and co-producer Jennifer Pearl has a voice of such weight you could strap it to a length of rope and sink battleships with it; the band as a whole deal in minimalism taken to its most epic extreme, where the everyday can dabble in the otherworldly. What would you call it? Goth-blues? Swamp-soul? Something will probably stick in time, but right now 'superb' will suffice.
Picking standouts is a fruitless exercise - Haunted Water is at its most fulfilling when experienced as a 40-minute whole. Comparisons could be made with The Birthday Party, early PJ Harvey and the aforementioned Londoners, but again none make absolute sense - 'She Sleeps' administers dirty adrenaline and 'House Of Need' woozily romances; 'Lost Heat' is all balls and swagger while 'On Your Street' is an emotional plea dressed up as a death threat. All comparisons are off in favour of pure appreciation of quality over strict critical qualification - Band A, Lion Fever, are simply awesome.
A truly special release that'll literally haunt both waking hours and dreamland escapades until the next full moon.
8Mike Diver's Score