Published Nov 11, 2015Mark McGuire's latest effort for Dead Oceans, Beyond Belief, is a denser, more imposing body of work than his 2013 record, Along the Way. His proclivity for noise and drone is more pronounced, but under the album's walls of reverb and delay, and tucked into its many cosmic-inspired wanderings, is the same delicate guitar work, keen ear for sonic texture and emotive songwriting.
Beyond Belief alternates between two kinds of tracks: shorter, more accessible cuts that feel like the product of more traditional popular songwriting, and long, meandering excursions that see McGuire layering seemingly endless slabs of textured synthesizers, guitars and drum machines amidst well-paced cosmic journeys.
The former group includes album opener "The Naacals," an ethereal, piano led chill-out jam that swells towards the end in a wash of cymbals and "The Undying Stars," a bouncy, retro-leaning house track that finds McGuire riffing on guitar amid a swirl of arpeggiated synths. "Earth: 2015" is the most striking of the longer tracks, a dystopian assemblage of frenetically out-of-sync drum machines and pulsing, trance-style synthesizers that build towards a climax for nearly ten minutes and only barely resolve before fizzling away.
McGuire's reputation doesn't need any further solidification at this point, but Beyond Belief is another worthy instalment in his hugely respectable catalogue. (Dead Oceans)