Formed in 2011 by Aske Zidore, Suni Zacharias and Jens Ramon, with drummer / vocalist Lasse Bækby Buch going on to join their ranks in 2013, Copenhagen-based band Gooms originally started out as a far more indie-rock / synth-pop-based outfit, releasing their debut album ‘Beyond Life’ through the Escho label in 2014.
Four years on, this second album on new Danish label Anyines ‘V1 (Descent)’ sees their music becoming increasingly abstracted and minimalist, with traces of both jazz and ambient electronics rearing their heads amongst the eleven tracks collected here. When Buch suddenly decided to leave the band midway through the album’s recording process, Gooms decided to complete the project, sculpting the tracks here around Buch’s first-take vocals.
It’s the sense of floating looseness that results that generates some of the most intriguing atmospheres, with the band forced to work sparingly to complement the unfinished, occasionally tentative and exploratory vocals. ‘Mountain’ opens proceedings with a pared back landscape of sparse, unpredictable guitar strums and icy ambient synth sweeps that threatens to coalesce at points, but never really does, offering an intriguing appetiser that’s just as difficult to categorise as the rest of this album.
‘X Hands’ introduces Buch’s reverb-treated vocals as an almost chorale presence, his rich harmonies bleeding out into a ghostly haze against washes of phased ambient electronics, before murmuring woodwinds and ramshackle guitar chords rise into the foreground – at points, it almost suggests a more jazz-infused take on Animal Collective, especially as a contorted jazz horns rears its head at the very end.
Elsewhere, ‘Bone Apocalypse’ offers up the one real rhythmic excursion here, sending dubby beats and cavernous bass wandering against Buch’s soul-meets-indie falsetto while flurries of orchestration trail at the very edges against looped ambient textures. ’Realisation’ meanwhile evokes comparisons with James Blake as Buch’s clear dulcet tones melt into a background lake of shimmering reverb-treated piano keys, clicking percussion and ambient strings, his vocals harmonies suddenly shifting and reversing on themselves. If ‘V1 (Descent)’ proves to be Gooms’ swansong, it’s certainly an intriguing note to go out on.