Over­looked sec­ond al­bum from post-rock pro­gen­i­tors gets double vinyl reis­sue.

Prog - - Echoes - JB

Bark Psychosis are an un­for­tu­nate ex­am­ple of why pioneers don’t al­ways win. Hav­ing de­fined a par­tic­u­lar strain of emo­tive post-rock on their 1994 de­but al­bum Hex, which would ef­fec­tively act as a tem­plate for a host of sim­i­lar-minded bands who came af­ter them, they promptly split up on its re­lease, torn apart by the pres­sures of mak­ing it. And then when they re­turned to the fray 10 years later with the re­lease of Co­de­name: Dust­sucker, ev­ery­body’s at­ten­tion was elsewhere, dis­tracted by the last hur­rah of the in­die rock main­stream epit­o­mised by The

Strokes and The White Stripes.

Many peo­ple re­gard this al­bum as more of a solo record from Gra­ham Sut­ton, the last re­main­ing mem­ber of the orig­i­nal band, but even if the spacey coun­ter­point of John Ling’s bass play­ing is some­times missed, there’s a clear tonal and the­matic con­nec­tion back to the first record. And for a band who never tried to hide the fact that Talk Talk were a ma­jor influence on their sound, the pres­ence here of Lee Harris on drums and per­cus­sion sug­gests a return to the source of their orig­i­nal inspiration.

Cer­tainly, open­ing track From What Is

Said To When It’s Read takes us right back to the hushed, small-hours at­mo­sphere of Hex. It’s a psy­che­delic lul­laby of qui­etly strummed gui­tar with sub­tle flecks of wah wah around the edge, Sut­ton’s som­bre vo­cal re­in­forc­ing this im­pres­sion, singing as though he doesn’t want to wake the sleep­ing city – but a sud­den blast of uniden­ti­fi­able noise puts paid to that.

The Black Meat em­pha­sises that while the songs are still full of sub­tle sonic de­tail, the ar­range­ments are a lit­tle less dis­cur­sive than be­fore. On say­ing that, both Miss Abuse and INQB8TR are pretty far out, the for­mer all hyp­notic acid squig­gles and cos­mic voices, the lat­ter a trippy voy­age into the earth with pro­cessed rhythms and echo­ing vi­bra­phone.

But more than any­thing, Co­de­name: Dust­sucker dis­plays a heart and in­ti­macy miss­ing from many of Bark Psychosis’ post-rock descen­dants.

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