Autistic Daughters Uneasy Flowers

Autistic Daughters Uneasy Flowers
New Zealander Dean Roberts once again convenes his avant-rock trio, featuring bassist Werner Dafeldecker and drummer/percussionist Martin Brandylmayr, to explore the inner and outer spaces of song. And space there is aplenty. Roberts’ vocal approach is quietly theatrical, giving moments a spot lit feel the stark rhythmic counterpoint matches unerringly. Brandylmayr’s snare remains his favoured weapon, but it’s enhanced with echo, handclaps and the voracious silence that surrounds him. Likewise, Dafeldecker, self-possessed from years of minimalist trench work, quietly places moody emphasis only where it’s absolutely needed. For all the artiness, everything still serves the song cycle. Roberts turns imagistic blank verses into absinthe bar stories where "a retired pilot commander/is singing the payroll/to a nervous friend.” These play out like thematic interludes in a larger narrative where part of a character’s back-story is provided in song before returning to the next scene. "Rehana Theme” opens the album, and her presence haunts the rest of the proceedings. Likewise, a damaged man-child character rattles through the various scenes, ending in the "Hotel Exeter Dining Room.” It’s a dry, compact and utterly compelling pocket drama for any quiet late afternoon. (Kranky)