No. 2: Abyss In B Mi­nor (4AD)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Rob DeWalt

Shoegaz­ing Nor­we­gian space-rock en­thu­si­asts Ser­ena Maneesh fol­low up 2006’s five-track Zurück with an­other set of tunes that hov­ers ex­pertly be­tween haunt­ing beauty and com­plete au­ral chaos. No. 2: Abyss in B Mi­nor — the band’s de­but release on the most holy of goth-cen­tric, post-rock prov­ing grounds, 4AD Records — was recorded in a cave out­side of Oslo, mixed by krautrock en­gi­neer and Can main­stay Rene Tin­ner, and then mas­tered at Hamp­stead’s leg­endary Air Stu­dios by Ray Staff (he mas­tered Led Zep­pelin’s Phys­i­cal Graf­fiti there). It might seem like a long creative jour­ney for an al­bum whose eight songs fade out in less than 40 min­utes, but it’s a sonic ex­pe­di­tion worth ev­ery step. Al­though No. 2 some­times sounds a lit­tle like Can or Medicine be­ing piped into a wind tun­nel — or in this case, a cave — the mu­sic is strong and styl­ized enough to keep the al­bum from fall­ing flat. No space­rock al­bum would be com­plete without walls of at­mo­spheric, jan­gly gui­tars (“Melody for Jaana”) rub­bing el­bows with un­du­lat­ing bass lines (“Blow Yr Brains In the Morn­ing Rain”), and shuf­fle hi-hat beats filled with ghost snare notes. No. 2 has plenty of this, but on tracks like “Repro­bate!” and al­bum opener “Ay­isha Abyss,” Ser­ena Maneesh gets down to the busi­ness of melodic may­hem and fist­pump­ing post-rock vir­tu­os­ity.

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