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Poltergeist
Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder) Julian Marszalek , June 25th, 2013 09:13

Once the howls of derisory laughter have subsided, it might be possible to find an ounce of sympathy in our hearts for Editors. Having dipped into The Chameleons' back catalogue and then attempted to do a New Order, the newly returned tribute group are now drawing deeply from Echo and the Bunnymen's well just at the point that Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson return sans Ian McCulloch in the guise of cosmic explorers Poltergeist.

Easily one of the best - if not most under-rated - guitarists Britain has ever produced, Sergeant's fluid mastery of his instrument ushered in a period of contemporary psychedelia when the very concept of looking back to the 60s was, with very few exceptions, a forbidden exercise. Or, at least, that was the orthodoxy depending on how far south you were based during the fall-out of punk rock and the rise of its successor, post-punk. Liverpool, of course, has no such truck with supposed received wisdom and not for no reason has the city been widely associated with all the joys of mind-expansion and so, by extension, the music it consumes and produces.

Of course, it'd be easy for cynics to dismiss this album as little more than a vanity project but to do so would be to offer a grave disservice to music that deserves to be judged on its own merits and not that of the day job. Moreover, Sergeant's never been shy of speaking of his love for psychedelia, space rock and kosmische music and so it is that Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder) is both a love letter to the sounds that inspired him as well as being a well crafted statement in its own right.

The eight instrumental pieces that set the controls for the heart of the sun once again deftly display the interaction between Sergeant, Pattinson and current Bunnymen drummer Nick Kilroe as they head out to the outer limits and back again. Though opener 'Cathedral' offers little surface surprise – the eastern scales, the ringing, sustained notes and Pattinson's trademark walking bass are all present correct – it's what comes wrapped with it that really delights. Coaxing any number of sounds from an array of effects pedals and the six strings at his fingertips, Sergeant colours the music to add further depth and dimension to the exercise in hand whilst pausing to briefly doff to his cap to Roy Budd's 'Get Carter Theme'.

Crucially, these aren't versions of what could have ended up on a Bunnymen album but a collection of music that's been written and performed in its own right. Frequently cinematic in feel – closer 'Lune Deeps' is the soundtrack to the images one sees with the mind's eye – the eight extended pieces rarely evoke the need for nicotine-stained baritone vocals. The locking of the pulsing bass and propulsive rhythms of the title track allow Sergeant to weave textures of backwards guitars, pinched notes and wah-wah-drenched feedback. Indeed, his dextrous right foot fuels the wobbly sounds that allow 'First Signs Of The Plague' to slip its mooring and set sail for the twilight zone.

On this showing, Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder) is as much a mission statement that fulfils its intent as it is a remarkable calling card that serves to remind of a very singular collection of talent.

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