Unread and unknown from the cover art to the languid, unraveling fretwork, this is a complex, gorgeous collection of non-songs that dissolve and re-convene in their own time, always gently pursued with an apt modicum of spatial awareness that keeps everything all roll along easy. Definition by negation seems as appropriate a measure as any here, shying as the music does from any single evangelical passion and moving instead under the beneficent shade of a host of attendant virtues; the two guitars and drums make remarkably polyglottal gestures over the course of the record's hour, the instruments cast as nets into teeming waters where the fringe definitions of folk and jazz go fishy and bleached. The conversations are coherent, then wayward, slipping around with plectrum and drum-tap, the sounds dedicated to each other if nothing else, and lest that sound like a dry sonic tautology then lend an ear to the telling of the thing, that such a conversation could only exist in order to articulate the environment of its happening. Practically, electric blues and an old-time rock and roll lilt provide the body of song which the strings and cymbals both inhabit and disrupt, either the boogie going haywire or the haywire realizing it wants to pay loving lip service to 12-bar, you know what I mean. ((I don't know, try Muddy Waters jamming with Kuupuu! (I couldn't help myself)). Sensibly titled by their extent and nothing more, these pieces make their claim in the air in which they were born without reaching after any objective justification and in that sense represent a folkish ontology in which the act of creation is also, quite happily and instantly, the active meaningful ingredient. I'd have been happy simply to have made these pieces, or been present at their occurrence - the fact that they've been pressed onto a cd seems a welcome happenstance which the music itself has little interest in. Like the Velvet Underground but looser and British, some tracks are clad in more distinctively leg-lifting apparel, applying slightly more pressure to the mechanics of the composition but still retaining a vivid, underwater ink-stain feel, and these mark a more linear laxness than the moreish tonal spider-webs on tracks like the second, a delightful morsel of what-if chords and question-mark percussion. There's a richness to the guitars' movements that multiplies them beyond the dual - secret lines go blossoming off a cymbal scrape and get refracted in the following harmonic tangent but remain remarkably crystal, or dissolve into rugged strokes and choppy singularity then turn around and catch some other passing reference...there's a delightful cartographic experience built into "The Desert of Lapping Dogs" which often repays repeated immersion with undiscovered territory.
Recordings exist mendaciously, by dint of what they do not contain; they are extracts from lived experience which then act to retrospectively inform lived experience with an image of itself, and music which recognizes this and places its action in a temporal/spatial play can inform the recorded act with the ability to apprehend new forms of communicating the essential being-with of shared existence - ie, one amongst myriad ways of expressing the unique joy of musicking. Evasive of surface identity but by the inverse marking the time of its action so clearly you could use each strum as a sun-dial (and then sometimes going back round the corner and enjoying a self-reflexive boogie), there is a hyper-reality to this record that seems to answer (as one of many possibilities) the machinations of the recorded act with a sumptuous superfluity of place, a devilishly tricky acoustic undertaking but one which Little Wet Horse dance with to everyone's benefit and enjoyment. Quietly revelatory. 9/10 -- Evan Rhodes (1 July, 2009)