Between Kraftwerk’s austere approach, where a song either makes the record or is deleted, and Underworld’s 5CD reissues for a single album, there lies a vast swathe of artists with scattered bits of material in the vaults, some of which is more beloved by them than the music for public consumption.
With Preacher’s Sigh & Potion: Lost Album Matthew Dear has decided to release a collection of tunes from 12-13 years ago, focusing on rootsy grooves and simple yet charming song ideas.
Muscle Beach starts as the record means to go on, a twangy guitar loop accompanying Dear’s gravelly tones in military cadence. The synths work their way in nicely, opening with stabs every couple of beats and gradually taking over the track with melodic quavers.
Crash And Burn features a similar dichotomy, with its distorted rocky beat overcome by ominous pads, while Hikers Y eschews organic instrumentation all together in favour of a minimalistic bass riff and repetitive vocals (“I’m through with all the conversation / ‘cause I was never good at conversation / I’m through with all the conversation / so don’t expect any more good conversation”).
Supper Times is one of the record’s more exciting ideas, a mixolydian synth ostinato stuck in perpetual motion as a ticking drum machine loop propels the track ever forward. The songs don’t tend to develop musically, they’re more intent on creating a pleasant atmosphere with some sonic tricks thrown in (and the low-stakes gambit of the ‘lost album’ batting away any awkward questions). The exception to this rule is something of a failed experiment, All Her Fits’ fun, rocky arrangement in its first half giving way to limp piano chords and synth strings in the second half.
Preacher’s Sigh & Potion finds Dear mostly content with spinning his wheels, but luckily his unique style and vocal delivery make it an enjoyable spinning.