Espers Espers II

There are many different names for this kind of music, yet all of them seem to end in folk. Call it psych-folk, freak folk, neo-folk, folk-folk, there is at least one component that music hacks don’t split hairs about: folk. Indeed, Espers fulfil this portion quite easily as the breathy female and male vocal interplay easily reminds of early British folkies like Fairport Convention, yet it is beyond the folk part where Espers really strut their stuff. In a seeming rebuke to their British influences, there are two songs here by the name of "Dead Queen” and "Dead King,” both of which cut to the heart of the way Espers approach the folk genre. "Dead Queen” starts simple enough, yet, the strings and guitars slowly start to warp their sound and become more and more coarse until the dissonance overtakes the traditional. Although it is music that feels somewhat forced, it is also a powerful combination. "Dead King” is actually quite similar in structure, yet its dominating drones and feedback are actually more abrasive, but never uncomfortable. Throughout this album, Espers move to and fro around the folk genre with striking confidence, unafraid of whatever frontier they’re going towards. (Drag City)