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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Many Fingers
Our Worn Shadow
Acuarela

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


July 26, 2006
Few albums demonstrate the reaches of multi-instrumentalism in the same way as Our Worn Shadow. Technology has granted Bristol, England-based Chris Cole the ability to showcase his all-embracing talents simultaneously, and boy, does he jump at the chance. I mean, Cole is clearly a gifted musician - his songwriting encompasses the piano, drums, guitar, vibraphone, cello, accordion, and I'm sure a few more instruments I can't quite place - but the most refreshing point about Many Fingers is the project's ability to avoid tethering itself to bedroom-bound laptopia; Many Fingers somehow sounds full of life and human activity, in spite of its one-man conception.

Many Fingers' Our Worn Shadow presents itself on the back of a series of recent tours with such luminaries as Matt Elliott, Mark Eitzel, Coco Rosie and Hood (the latter providing a relatively accurate starting point when considering the point at which Many Fingers' sound takes root). Having released an eponymous EP on Moteer, a label run by cohorts The Remote Viewer, Cole recorded and assembled an early version of Our Worn Shadow as a handmade CDR package to be sold at shows. It was only a matter of time before the recording was to be realized to its full potential.

When considering what it is that makes Our Worn Shadow tick, as prominent as it may be, instrumentalism only takes you about halfway. Cole manages to create detailed scapes with very manipulation at all. Evidently of the same schooling as Hood, Cole's approach is lo-fi, principally minor key, and shies away from pop hooks and pronounced immediacy. Bleakness is a common theme with Cole, and despite the sunrays beaming through the window that might otherwise prove a distraction at this time of year, his craftwork is easy to attune to.

"Some Shield" opens the score with little urgency as one layer slowly builds upon another: the focus switches from piano to horns, back to piano after the drums enter the mix, before some reversed guitar provides an interlude and the piano takes the helm once again. "This Far Won't Hold" sees the mission statement shift towards neo-classical territory, with plucked strings and a wandering cello-line, varnished by sporadic high-end vibraphone chimes. On the other hand, the title-track, incorporating one of a few instances of vocals, emits the same pessimistic conviction as is synonymous with the bulk of the Constellation roster.

And then, just when you're struggling to comprehend how Cole manages to pull this mishmash off live, you notice the DVD disc unexpectedly sneaked beneath the CD tray. Containing footage from a live performance in Bristol last summer, the DVD acts as an insight to Cole's real-time modus operandi. The performance sees the man looping pianos on top of each other, capturing the loops before turning to the kit, and controlling the lot with some basic hardware. One mistake and the whole shebang would slip out-of-sync, but Cole holds it all together.

As a project, Many Fingers resists the temptation of letting instrumentation run away with itself. Cole's music at no point sounds garish or cluttered, and is allowed plenty of breathing space to let each pluck, twang and wheeze garner a life of its own. Although Our Worn Shadow doesn't journey far from the desolate path it clearly heads toward from its onset, this is a project in its foetal stages, so designs for more ambitious horizons have plenty of time for formulation. I, for one, am eager to watch and see where these designs take Many Fingers.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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