Tarantula A.D. Book of Sand

A huge heaping slab of eccentricity and originality, Book of Sand is as frustrating as it is inspired. Mixing its brittle hymns with slightly pretentious prog rock, with varying degrees of success, it is only when a track is devoted to one kind of idea that Tarantula A.D. make a strong impression. There are three tracks, aptly organised under the name "The Century Trilogy” that denote the albums beginning, middle and end, and, for all their bluster and genre-switching, only the final one stirs. Getting rid of the metal elements, it instead focuses on the ambient, especially in the middle, where the strings, vibes and guest Devendra Banhart give the song its weight. This then builds up to a striking, clattering conclusion before slowly dissipating, leaving one to digest the many ideas vying for prominence. And it is that notion where Book of Sand suffers, as there are just too many things going on for any sort of cohesion. The best and most successful tracks are those that stick to one idea, like the striking piano ballad of "The Lost Waltz” or the organ and lo-fi electronics of the heartbreaking "Riverpond.” There is much talent here, if only it was better harnessed. (Kemado)