This Torino-based experimental post-rock band on Tin Angel Records merges a dark electronica with the vocals of Little Annie ‘Anxiety’ Bandez, whose deep husky vocal feels straight out of New York City’s underbelly.
With an abundance of albums to their name, Larsen have been making records for the past 15 years, releasing 13 full length albums, 2 EPs and various DVDs. On top of this they’ve collaborated with the likes of Xiu Xiu in a band coined XXL, as well as sharing the stage with David Tibet and Baby Dee of Current 93, Julia Kent and Johann Johannsson.
Cool Cruel Month exudes an effortless coolness; nodding to the hipster, beatniks of NYC on numerous tracks; and certainly more obviously on ‘Annie’s Rap’ which features the cigarette huskiness of its namesake Annie Bandez; whose narrative on a shortlived imaginary existence with a man about the New York bar scene adds a certain humour to the album, and too begs for more appearances from this unique voice and storyteller.
At times this album is a nutshell of timeless songwriting; an encasement of influences from a string of decades from 40s through to the late 60s and early 70s. There is the eloquence of voice and what one could imagine as a grandiose stagemanship, on the likes of ‘It Was a Very Good Year’, which too gives a certain nod to Sinatra in its title. While overall Cool Cruel Month is defined by its restrained and deft mix of ambiance and post-rock leanings, with chiming of eerie percussion on ‘Viggo’ to the ghostly distortion of pedals and synths inbetween. ‘Dyslexic Haiku’ buzzes and shrieks with a high frequency white noise for near on three minutes before tripping into a blissed out melding of piano, clipped drumsticks and fuzzy yet minimal guitar chords. While ‘These are the Things’ tug at the reins without allowing this recording to take off in too wrong a direction.
There are certainly flashes of brilliance here and yet as an album it at times perhaps feels like there’s a certain holding back. More of the letting go and oddball appeal of numbers like Annie’s Rap would be greatly appreciated.