It’s been ages since we’ve had a revolution. Not an actual revolution, where heads roll and things are set on fire and actual change occurs. But one of those musical revolutions where a couple of similar sounding acts are banded together and prefixed.
New rock. Nu rave. New boring. So now, should we find another act with vaguely similar tendencies as Grumbling Fur, we can finally hang out the bunting and declare the new bucolic revolution open for business.
‘Preternaturals’ is album number three from Grumbling Fur and it is quite strange, in many ways. Not in a hugely overt way, it isn’t sprinting down the centre of the the road with pencils up its nose, pants on its head declaring itself to be the crazy mayor of mad town, but in the covert, slightly unsettling way it manages to merge two disparate things.
Because it does put you in mind of something very folky, in the English Country Garden, judging cakes at the village fête sense of the word. But then there’s this competing, other worldly modernity borne from the electronic zaps and swooshes that are gracefully stitched into the fabric. Together it makes for an album of slightly ramshackle, slightly eccentric psychedelic pop.
Often, it is quite lovely. ‘All The Rays’ has the relentless, striding gait of Depeche Mode, but rather than stomping the earth in military grade boots, it skips delicately across the surface wearing sandals and blowing the heads of dandelions. ‘Feet of Clay’ sets a wonderfully idyllic scene with violins and vocal harmonies, before combining that with sufficient dusky clicking and clacking to make a cicada feel at home, while there’s a 95% certainty that ‘Mister Skeleton’ has been to Scarborough Fair.
‘Preternaturals’ is graceful and intriguing, if not vastly pulse quickening. Even when at it’s most flat-out electronic, as on the glitchy closer ‘Pluriforms’, it is an album that intrigues rather than turns your knuckles white. But that’s okay. In a decently long line of British eccentrics doing weird things in the realms of pop music, Grumbling Fur are in good company. And if you’re looking for a quizzical and wistful soundtrack to an afternoon spent staring at clouds, then ‘Preternaturals’ definitely hits the mark.