Album Review: Nero Kane – ‘Tales of Faith and Lunacy’.

Between blackened alt-folk and deepest dark Americana, Nero Kane carves a dimly lit space. Within which, through dense drones of feedback and strings, and Spanish tinged loops of acoustic guitar, ‘Faith and Lunacy’ lives to its name.

In a mass of bodiless structures and sounds, there’s the ghosts of religion and love. There’s the slowcore of Swans, Lydia Lunch’s seduction, Rowland S Howard’s precise gift for misery and the darkest of Warren Ellis film scores. This is art rock for those who have patience, a bleak freakout as slow as they come. Textures thicken and thin-down from wide swathes of sound to scratches of chorus soaked chords.

From the moment the Godless ‘Lord Won’t Come’ begins, we’re immersed and engulfed and submerged; in semi-lucid lucid arrangements and coarse bible belt imagery, there’s a hard-baked and grim desolation. These are noises that shine after violence, aftermaths of aggression and loss.

As the album progresses we learn not grade light by how bright the songs get, but by how much of the darkness gets lifted. The midway song ‘Magdalene’, though as gothic as any other, starts to touch upon Sonic Youth’s ‘Sister’. In layers of scrawling guitar fuzz and jangle, the unfiltered guest vocals of Samantha Stella move and kick against Nico inflections. Her voice adds an awkward and cool new component to the alternate tracks that she sings on.

Elsewhere Nero sings smooth and low, measured but best when unlaboured. He gives purposeful weight to ‘Mary Of Silence‘ and soft talk to the loose ‘I Believe‘. And as ‘I Believe‘ rings out with new shades of synth, the highlight of the album fades in. The closing ‘Angelene’s Desert‘ is a lurch to the left with 10 minutes of synthswells and noise.

Electronic repetitions, reversed cascades of strings, they build into dense loops of feedback and drone to a backbone of half spoken poetry. There’s a feel this is where they’re both happiest, free from the constraints and the structure of song, free to move out in any direction. ‘Tales of Faith and Lunacy‘ is a set of themes expanding, rich, fully formed, thick and bleak.        

And completely by chance and by listening, it also works perfectly as a mirror-universe partner to Kill Your Boyfriend’s latest album, ‘Killadelica’.