Five years in production; over two hours (and CDs) long; a label-trumpeted, definitive catalogue number (Kranky 100); a drooling, super-expectant fan base, wondering what?s the hell?s been taking so long (surely they just press sustain
, right? FFS, it took Aphex one night to make "Selected Ambient Works Volume II."). "Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline," surely, is ambient electronica?s very own "Chinese Democracy."
So no pressure. And worry not ? there is no discernable pressure applied anywhere on this record; indeed quite the opposite ? it floats like a butterfly and Sting?s like a bee ? ponderous, yellow and theoretically a scientific impossibility. So, to all you fans queuing outside the record store at midnight, you can breath easy ? the mighty ?Lid have made another record kind of the same as all their previous ones. Although this one is more overtly organic ? we have brass and harps and cellos and a children?s choir (much like it?s inevitable "Chinese Democracy" will feature, you see? And why is it OK to laugh at Axl for such risible orchestral ambition, but for these guys it?s positively encouraged? Poor Axl. Not really.)
We?re all depressingly familiar with the adjectives and metaphors that you?re supposed to trot out in the face of music as stately and horizon-defying as this. And so, in case you demand them, here are mine:
?gracefully glides like a glistening global glacier gobbing globules of gaseous goo that glimmer in the glyptic
(there?s always got to be one adjective in here that nobody understands) glassy gloaming gloom.
Faced with such high-profile genre releases, music writers tend to crack their knuckles delightedly, settling down to summon forth their most purple, Pitchforky prose in their ongoing masterclass on that ol? sonic cathedrals of sound bullshit (which we all, let?s be honest, rather enjoy). Fuck that. I?m going to tell you a joke instead, that I hope will get to the bottom of things with more economy. What do you call a sheep with no legs?
A cloud. 8/10 -- Seb Hunter (10 April, 2007)