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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 84 - 08/12/03

Shift These Thoughts
Big Rig Records

Superbly crafted debut album from Melbourne atmos-popsters Heligoland, formed in 1998 and following on from earlier single and EP releases. They've been able to step up (thank you US sports commentators) and deliver over the length of an album with an effortless, unhurried way of sustaining a mood throughout the ten tracks on Shift These Thoughts.

Winners for mine include the intricate n' fragile "Jasper Come Home", showcasing the beautifully breathy vocals of Karen Vogt, in many ways used as another "instrument" on several occasions to enhance the mood. The suspended drama of "Herringbone" and the insistent chime of "Cabo De Gata" being the other shining examples of gorgeousness, definitely the ones I've returned to most on this disc.

There are reminders here of the sparse, earthy & fantastic Melbourne duo Sunglass and perhaps they're mining similar stuff to that of UK bed sitters Mojave 3. Beautifully constructed, fragile pieces o' shimmer and echo - perfect for dust mote studies and sundayafternoonweightlessness.

Shift These Thoughts is one of several recent outstanding Australian releases of this ilk, another notable effort being "Storms Dressed as Stars" by Gersey. All display a firm grip of dynamics and abundant skills in the good ole' atmospheric twin jangle guitar attack. I'm reminded here also of the sorely missed, pulsing film noir of Melbourne's Paradise Motel.

Damn impressive in that Heligoland have allowed the album to wander n' meander whilst providing enough hooks without fear of sounding overly catchy - a major hole a lot of the more overtly "indie" crowd fall into and a main gripe o' mine - you gotta have some direction about ye to keep folks interested over the length of an album!

Enough of that - seek out and soak in the aching arching beauty that is Heligoland, this is true art to choke hearts.

Copyright © 2003 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Heligoland article/review: Separate 7" + Along the Snowline 7".

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