Thee More Shallows – Book of Bad Breaks (Anticon/Stomp)


San Francisco group consisting of Dee Kesler, Chavo Fraser and Jason Gonzales deliver their debut for Anticon with this their second release, following on from 2005′ More Deep Cuts on English label Monotreme.

It continues Anticon’ progression as a kind of nexus between the hip hop they first became known for, and a broad range of sounds from across the board of influences. Odd Nosdam found his way on to this record, after Kesler contributed to several of his projects including my personal favourite, Burner. Appropriately, given that connection, there are plenty of dense atmospherics, drones, and a few programmed beats to go with the lovely acoustic drums. ‘The Dutch Fist’s is fairly epic in tone, with thin processed Casio loops starting things off, before it drops into a stomping soup of drones, keyboard lines and vocals, all building to a beautiful crescendo in which Kesler sounds uncannily like a David Bowie/Jarvis Cocker clone. ‘Oh Yes, Another Mother’ sounds a little like Kesler having a dig at his mother, so this may go down well with depressed teenagers. The White Mask employs a nice textural shift with acoustic guitars floating over a simple beat, all ebbing and flowing nicely with background fuzz and Kesler’ fluctuating observations into another beautiful crescendo. ‘Chrome Caps’ poked and prodded my ears with odd shifts in dynamic and frequency.

There’ no real hooks or pop melodies, rather the arrangements ebb and flow in an open ended Krautrock way – there’ a non committal streak throughout which keeps things interesting. The choice of sound sources and textures is restrained and serves as a thread of continuity. Nice work.

Tom Smith


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