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Ross McLennan : The Night’s Deeds Are Vapour

The third album from former Snout frontman Ross McLennan is less ornate and expansive than his previous album, 2008’s Sympathy For The New World. But even though it pares his chamber-rock compositions back and houses them in three-minute trappings, it’s no less playful or poetic than his previous work.

 

McLennan can engage with his voice alone, but again surrounds himself with lush orchestration and a choir. The best songs start simple and then let the backing vocals play a key part in reaching a joyous peak: Get This is a sleepy-eyed acoustic song that gets ragged to a repeated cry of “Ba, ba, get this!”; Clarity smothers itself in a slumber of soft orchestration to be awoken by heaven-sent yelps; and the instantly lovable Sunkissed dances in circles to “do, do, do” harmonies.

 

It can be a challenge to grasp the meaning behind McLennan’s abstract lyrics, so it’s best to let the light and shade of his words lead you into his sinister, ambiguous worlds. There’s enough to reel you in and get a sense of your surroundings. Get This celebrates musicians as the vermin of a human zoo and Grim Faces At The Caravan Park sketches out a dark suburban drama, while Sheila Remembers is a disorientated grasping at fading memories. The album’s final word is a defeated “I’ve nothing left to sell”, but the vitality and variety of The Night’s Deeds Are Vapour renders this lyric nonsensical.

 

BY CHRIS GIRDLER

 

Best Track: Sunkissed

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In A Word: Get-this