Listencorp review image of the plish embassy/the crane field by bizarre statue

The Polish Embassy/The Cane Field

Bizarre Statue


Liam Murphy

July 14, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Percussive droplets fall at the beginning of The Polish Embassy. Slowly amalgamating into a simplistic tune, these notes coax resonant chimes. The melodies explored are ambivalent at first, a shaker sounding like bones crackling underfoot gives off a slightly sinister atmosphere. The listener stays sat on the fence, unable to settle into the music too much, but lulled by the childish melody of the dulcet droplets. The environment is soothed by the sudden interjection of bass, followed by a slow rise of string and wind instruments. Bizarre Statue shifts the feeling here early on, the song becoming awash with organic sound and emotive tones. Strings crackle like aching joints, the artist stretches their hands across the stereo field. The sounds begin to fall into a somewhat hypnotic slumber, cold keys play with a synthetic beauty tinging the track with electronic affectations. This artificiality is short-lived as guitars begin to melt down from up above, pursued by a hi-hat rhythm. These drooping guitar notes would sound fairly comical in isolation as they are heavily-laden with vibrato, that is if it wasn’t for warm acoustic notes augmenting their delivery to come across more melodious than jocose. A voice creeps in, a voice that shares the homely rustling warmth of the acoustic guitar strings. Folkish in their delivery, the lyrics illustrate a scene for the listener; a location in repose. We launch into a more austere tone, dramatised by patient drum work that brings the tempo to a slow march. Bizarre Statue actions yet another shift in mood here with little imbalance; from emotive and halcyon to daunting in a very short time. The reprisal of the vocals bring back that folkish emotion, a figure comes across another strung out upon the sidewalk. It plays out like a common occurrence in the world we find ourselves in, but the music tells us that this moment is special, melancholic and alive with feeling. Tension created with a seemingly endless drawling note is brought to a cathartic breakdown as strummed guitar chords are contrasted with icy xylophone notes. A secret meeting erupts through the lyrics, the noisiness of the guitar and drum partnership representing the hustle and bustle of a street in Berlin. The narrative is retrospective, a calm and collected look back at a strange and intense happenstance. The emotive instrumentation disappears and Bizarre Statue begins to sharpen a weapon against a cymbal, dissonant hissing emanating without context or character. A cold and despondent melody plays out on contrastingly warm keys, its slow tremolo echoing out into a new space. The lower notes rumble as the track draws to a close.

The Cane Field begins with beautifully played acoustic guitar, instantly transporting the listener to the beaming sunshine of an open field. The lyrics tell a story that is not so happy, a slave rests from toiling in the expansive natural setting of St. Kitt. As the person watches a bird glide gracefully from view, the desire to be free overwhelms them. From there we are thrown into a Manzarekian jaunting piano sequence, the subject of the song makes a fool of his master, slipping from view like the bird and setting off to their freedom. Another sudden shift in the narrative, as has become Bizarre Statue’s penchant, sends us careering into the first night loose from the cruel and greedy whip hand of the slave’s master. A beautifully plucked instrument’s melody causes us to lift our head up to the waning moon. Another drawling membranous note like the track before hums, this time representing the low-hanging fog on the landscape. The splashes of sibilant percussion burst like stars against the dark night sky. The moon dances across the vista now, celebrating the unchained figure standing in the luminescent moonlight. From there, a thunderous electric guitar restrains the acoustic chords. The track is an exorcism of oppression, an illustration of freedom snatched from the hands of evil. But the outside world is a strange place, and the crackling instrumentation harbours in it a fearful and unsure tone. The slave’s story is only just beginning, and the sonic narrative shifts from uncertain to hopeful brilliantly. Thankfully the atmosphere stays fairly positive, Bizarre Statue employs a chord sequence similar to that of lounge music, as it feels as though we walk through a busy but welcoming civilisation. An acoustic guitar yet again asserts the rustic environment, and chaotic dissonance begins to inch into frame. Fingers creep up and down guitar fretboards and wind rises and falls as tension grows. A solitary bell brings the noise to a close, singing out with a positive finality.

Bizarre Statue chooses two stories that couldn’t be further from each other. A cold war spy in East Berlin and an escaped slave in St. Kitts share the approximate 37-minute album. Through expressive and organic musicianship, as well as a penchant for shifting the narrative with a cool and authoritative hand, the artist paints an incredible and dichotomous journey.