Vessel: Queen of Golden Dogs review – Brutally intense from start to finish

Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 07:00


Queen of Golden Dogs


Tri Angle Records


For nearly three decades, Bristol has thrived on a unique underground music scene. Founded on arresting compositions informed by trip-hop, techno, and dub soundscapes which would ultimately inspire numerous local outliers, namely Portishead and Massive Attack. The enduring influence of those aforementioned genres and artists remains ubiquitous among today’s generation.

One such Bristolian is Sebastian Gainsborough. On his third album, as Vessel, Queen of Golden Dogs is brutally intense yet maintains a warm serenity. The listener, in an attempt to match the frantic BPM, promptly adapts to the sudden shifts in tempo and mood.

The breadth of this record spans beautiful operatic vocal performances, on Torno-me eles e nau-e (For Remedios), accompanied by harpsichord-led melodies to Paplu (Love That Moves The Sun)’s unyielding techno-based rhythms, heightened by the inclusion of the cowbell.

Elsewhere, Argo (For Maggie) resembles Björk’s most recent output, with electronic producer Arca, while the vocal interplay on Zahir (For Eleanor) hears two different cadences heralding both Kate Bush and ANONHI.

Ultimately, Queen of Golden Dogs asserts Vessel’s position as a key contributor to Bristol’s continually evolving sound.