Absent Without Leave – Faded Photographs

Absent Without Leave

It is often the case for me that different kinds of music call for different forms of listening. Sitting through Faded Photographs on my computer speakers was pleasant, but not satisfying. I revisited this album, two days later and again began playing it through the same speakers, unfortunately the noise outside my room (which consisted of persistent road works being undertaken) was clouding again, what I was listening to. So I decided to throw on my headphones, close out the sounds from outside and listen. This decision proved to help bring this record alive.

Absent Without Leave recruits numerous musicians to realise the image being cast here, accompanied by guests including port-royal, epic45 and (a lot) of others you would think this record would sound extremely busy, trying and bloated. This is not the case at all as the songs breath with life, seemingly floating along without a care in the world. Opener How the Winter Comes channels the lighter side of Explosions in the Sky, Dreams and Hopes introductory guitar and ambient washes recall Emancipator’s more recent work, while the title track closes with a positive twist on the twinkling guitar so often exhibited by Efrim Menuck. Diverse inspirations aside, the album stands as it’s own with a blur between manipulated sounds and acoustic reality, with subtle depth that can only be heard through careful, intimate listens.

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