The Open – Statues (Loog)

No-one took much notice of ‘Silent Hours’, The Open’s impressive debut album
from 2004, which was a shame, because it was, frankly, brilliant. ‘Statues’
continues this theme, albeit in bolder and more inventive ways. Whereas the
first album’s windswept guitar rock teemed with nods to The Verve, Echo And
The Bunnymen, Doves, 80s U2 (that’s a compliment) and generally epic music,
this follow up has set its sights even further. The swirling opener
‘Forever’, with its nourishing trumpet, pounding drums and plaintive
minimalist guitars is a marker for the rest of the album, and has much in
common with arch sound fetishists like No-Man and Talk Talk. Things continue
in this vein; songs are awash with mellotrons, strings, glock, piano and
other lushness, all of it sound-tracking what sounds like singer Steven
Bayley’s personal odyssey into hell. It’s a dark, angsty album, wracked with
emotion, with no overtly radio friendly fare (or anything likely to
soundtrack goals flying in on MOTD, like Doves always manage). First single
‘We Can Never Say Goodbye’ has an almost rinky-dink Britpop feel to it, but
remains quintessentially bleak – like, say, the Kaiser Chiefs with all their
jauntiness smothered by a thick goth blanket. ‘Statues’ probably won’t go
near your CD player between May and September, but at the moment it’s the
perfect soundtrack to dark skies, howling winds and Winter soul-searching.
Whether the record buying public, currently fixated with the appalling
yob-indie of the Artless Monkeys, will ever take this group to their hearts
remains to be seen; but The Open really should be playing this music in
stadiums (or, even better, in a cold dilapidated castle somewhere). Big, but
clever too, this is scintillating stuff.

MS (CMU)

Release date: 6 Feb

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