UNKLE - The Road: Part 1 review: gloomy soundtrack for the apocalypse

Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 11:00


The Road - Part 1


Songs for the Def


There has never been a better time for James Lavelle to return with his gaggle of gloom merchants to create a soundtrack for the inevitable apocalypse. This, the UNKLE project’s fifth album, is bursting with such familiar collaborators as Mark Lanegan, members of Primal Scream and QOTSA, coupled with newer artists ESKA and Keaton Henson on a journey of unyielding bleakness.

The powerful, western noir of Looking for the Rain is Lanegan as a desert-dwelling preacher, his gritty rasp attempting to warn us of the suffering and storms to come, searching for safety that may never arrive. Cowboys or Indians with its layered vocals, ricocheting beats and spat out rhymes twists into the kind of claustrophobic intensity last heard on Psyence Fiction.

The Road: Part 1, with the Cormac McCarthy novel as its inspiration, is a stark affair. But Lavelle manages to weave some light through it with Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss providing the optimism on the bewitching Sunrise (Always Comes Around).