Monday, December 3, 2007

Espers - II (2006)

Artist: Espers
Album: II
Released: 2006
Label: Drag City


Such is the evocativeness of Espers' second album that I feel as if I should write about my experiences listening to it while picnicking in the King's Woods, prancing across the greensward, or sipping mulled cider behind castle walls. But it's 2006, and I've mostly listened to it in my cubicle at work. Besides, despite the strong whiff of Ye Olde Renaissance Faire coming from II during initial plays, Espers' genius lies in making music that feels both archaic and timeless simultaneously.

There's also an overwhelmingly melancholy, valedictory feel to II. Naturally enough “Dead King” and “Dead Queen” are songs for a wake, but so is “Cruel Storm,” and even “Widow's Weed” and “Children of Stone” are immensely foreboding despite the sweet harmonizing of Baird and Greg Weeks on the latter. Only “Mansfield and Cyclops” escapes the funeral air of the rest of the album (and that serves more as a pause between two of the more intense songs here than anything else).

- Stylus Magazine

1. Dead Queen (8:13)
2. Widow's Weed (6:51)
3. Cruel Storm (5:17)
4. Children of Stone (8:53)
5. Mansfield and Cyclops (5:57)
6. Dead King (8:02)
7. Moon Occults the Sun (6:47)