Virgo season. Summer is coming to an end. Discarded knickers drifting away from the Central Blackpool Pier, just about to sink to the sea bottom…
Allora, where have proper seasons gone? Central European continental belt, where Zagreb lies and belongs, obviously lost them. The varied beauty of temperate climate with distinct four seasons started to fade two decades ago. God damn the Sun. God damn the naked apes. What nature gives, nature takes away. And what about (The) Membranes? After having orbited in the cold black space for couple of years, old codgers fell from the dark skies & landed on Earth (North England, Blackpool). Unrelenting bassist & band leader John Robb knows no obstacles. „What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away“ is a double album comprised of dark side tunes with different emotional resonance (what was previously grief after the loss of father & contemplation on mortality and miraculous origin of life, now is concern for primordial mother). At the first look the songs may seem loosely connected in a conceptual manner reminiscent of prog-rock excesses. But the fundamental quality of the new record is closer to late ’70s British art-rock tradition. The prominent role of bass guitar, implementation of dub techniques in the studio & immersion in Gothic imagery come from post-punk past times. And the alchemy of all the elements is pure the 21st century Membranes: Nick Brown – guitar and keyboards, Peter Byrchemore (ex The Nightingales) – guitar & Rob Haynes (ex Gold Blade) – drums. The choir inclusion would be a real surprise if they hadn’t worked with them in concerts on different occasions in recent years. „What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away“ is certainly their most grandiose recording up to date. Is this The Membranes’ crown achievement? Time will tell. They’ve kept their mature inspiration in enviable form, only the psychedelic dressing applied is earthier and in abundance. There are no songs that I’d recognize as “filler”. In overall the sequence works fine and keeps my attention from start to finish. The mournful guitar melodies (e.g. What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away, Deep In The Forest Where Memories Linger) are my current favorites. It’s important to mention that Membranes are great live act. I was lucky to have watched them in concert when they promoted “Dark Matter / Dark Energy”; as “a last minute” opening act they played before Gang of Four in Zagreb. Keep your eye on their tour dates.
Spring: The City Is An Animal
Summer: Deep In The Forest Where Memories Linger
Autumn: Demon Seed / Demon Flower
Winter: Pandora’s Box
Window shop: Louder Than War