Put simply, 'Tired Sounds Of...' is one of the most unremittingly beautiful albums I've ever heard. Sure, it's fairly recent for Classic status, but no matter, it deserves to be recognised as one. If you have even a passing interest in Ambient/Post-Rock/Neo-Classical music, it fairly screams to be given pride of place in your collection. In Ambient terms, it could turn out to be as epochal as Brian Eno's 1970's recordings, stripping Ambient of any New-Agey saccharine and imbueing it with a vitality and force normally missing from the genre. This is far from background music, the languid, aenesthetised instrumentals repeating gorgeous chunks of slowly evolving melody on a cushioned bed of processed guitar, molten strings and far-off, desert-lonely horns.
It's the variety of instrumentation, and the willingness to engage in a more earthly, melodic, structural dynamic that makes 'Tired Sounds Of...' a better album than Stars of the Lid's previous releases. While the likes of 1997's 'The Ballasted Orchestra' boasted a similarly stately, spacey grace, here the emphasis is firmly on melody. The tone has subtly shifted from the somambulent but cinematic guitar drone of SOTL's past, epitomised by the breathtakingly moving 'Music For Twin Peaks Episode #30' on 'The Ballasted Orchestra', to a firm commitment to the world of Neo-Classical minimalism. If that sounds off-putting, don't be fooled; if you find Samuel Barber's 'Adagio For Strings' moving, then you'll enjoy the Classical arrangements on offer here. It's mostly upbeat, with thick chords of sound fading in and out of ear shot, characterised by a lava-like texture that merges each instrument, many of which are already rendered unrecognisable by careful, loving studio manipulation, into a gluttenous, indulgent fug of sound.
More than any other Ambient album I've heard in the last few years, 'Tired Sounds Of' succeeds in liberating Ambient from it's often undeserved status as aural wallpaper, delivering sledgehammer emotion with feather light restraint, and soundtracking every emotional peak and trough you choose to apply to these accomplished, twilight symphonies.
10Tom Eyers's Score