I always find reviewing really good albums harder than really bad ones. While reviewing something
crappy not so great, there’s lots of room for your twisted brain to roam and lots of un-tasty nuggets for your dirty mouth to feed on. “This is a weak rip-off of that and this song belongs on John Voight-produced movie soundtrack”. Hardy-har-har. But what do you say about an album that is nearly perfect? That it’s coherent, but every single track holds its own ground? Duh. That despite it’s 17-track length there isn’t a single note I would leave out and there isn’t a moment when you get bored or your mouse pointer is slowly crawling towards ‘skip’ button? Well, yeah, but you can figure that out on your own. I guess I’ll just screw objectivity altogether and keep it personal. I’m a sucker for strings, heavy beat and eerie samples. And there is plenty of all of the above on Archaeology. It’s the music angels would play if someone would take their horns away and replaced them with DJ equipment and a warehouse full of blues, bossa-nova, hip-hop (and whatever the fuck else Josh Furey is listening to) records. They would sing beautiful songs that kinda make the world seem like not too bad of a place but at the same time remind you that there will be time when you’ll have to leave this place and that time may come sooner than you think. It’s a perfect winter album – with enough cold and stillness to send shivers down your spine and make you think about futility of life (like that killer sample of Bob Dylan and Alan Ginsberg talking at Kerouac‘s grave on “Faders”, one of my favorite tracks) and other existential junk and stuff, but with enough warmth (all those breathtaking female vocal samples and occasional piano) to make you want to appreciate your futile existence a bit more. It never turns sappy or preachy though, which to me is another huge plus when it comes to a piece of art. Josh Furey keeps it tight with those beats like a no-nonsense construction worker laying down heavy bricks that on their own could be a dangerous weapon of destruction, but if followed an elaborate architectural design may form something massive and fragile at the same time. And when the architect and the brick layer are the same person, you know that the execution will be perfect. And you don’t have to be an archaeologist to dig out this album. It’s right here (be supportive and donate some moolah).
R.I.Y.L. DJ Shadow, Indigo Spirit, strings
personal favs: “Covered In Dust”, “Faders”, “Sac Actun Submerged”