Larsen | Rever | Review

All Music Guide | Andy Kellman

delicately brushed melodies come along and whisk you out

The mystique surrounding the making of this record is enough to make one take the great music on it for granted. This Italian quartet initiated a courtship with Young God's Michael Gira by sending him bizarrely packaged CDRs with varying contents, thus enabling Gira to acquaint himself with the band's sound and range. For what purpose was unknown to him at the time. Following a series of these discs, Gira received a final package that included a round-trip flight to Italy and a sum of money -- the producer was invited to work on the band's record. Curiosity aroused, Gira obliged. For three weeks he recorded the band and edited the results without actually seeing the band; the band, a pair of engineers, and the producer communicated through a translator as a screen divided them.

The result? Much like Ulan Bator's Ego: Echo, another record overseen and released by Gira, Rever is an excellent LP that carries in the tradition of Gira's own Swans and Sonic Youth without making overt references to the past. It sounds like most of the record derived from extended jamming sessions that were chiseled into coherent pieces and then shape-shifted into a superb sequence for maximum effect. Shortly after most of the guitar riffs are found, they're abandoned or temporarily tucked away in favor of lulling drones, pendulum-like instrumental segues, chanted/whispered vocals, and the occasional blurt of accordion and/or trumpet. Just as you find yourself sliding down trap chutes made from densely sculpted dins of moaning guitars and ugly textures, delicately brushed melodies come along and whisk you out.

If you're troubled by the retrograde state of guitar-based music, Rever (and any other Young God release) warrants your attention. This is a nudge forward.