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Misterlee – Night of the Killer Longface (RCR)

Curiouser and curiouser. Misterlee, a trio comprising the eponymous Lee Allatson plus Jamie Smith and Michael Oxtoby, have links with the anti-folk scene. I’m never too sure exactly what anti-folk is supposed to be, but it’s nothing if not eclectic, and that’s a label that sure fits this record.


In places, the songs here are reminiscent of Dawn of the Replicants in the way they build around layers of ominous, discomforting tunefulness coupled with lo-fi sci-fi noises. Indeed, opener ‘The Caligula Waltz’ alarms with a gravelly growl that sounds like a cross between DOTR’s Paul Vickers and Nick Cave when he was right scary, like. Then it calms down a bit, swinging along strangely, complete with what sounds like a penny-whistle solo drunkenly weaving its way between the strums.

The sweetly swaying ‘Natural Born Blonde’ lightens the mood with kazoo, harmonica and (yes!) jaws harp. On ‘Fortune Telling Agnes’ Lee’s voice quavers up close in your ear as a simple keyboard line trickles underneath, like a child practising their scales on next door’s piano. ‘Broken Shrine Mirrors’ sounds like the moment before the sky turns dark and you know there’s a storm coming. Guitar twangles throatily and drums snick like dust on the wind. The wriggly groove of ‘Black Soul’ huffs and rattles catchily, sounding like Thomas Truax busking in the Outback. The underlying sense of unease that twines itself around Mister Lee’s songs transforms into a downright sense of dread on the eerie ‘Lazified’ not least because of its squelchy synth noises. If you’ve ever seen ‘70s witchcraft horror film ‘Suspiria’ you’ll know how terrifying squelchy synths can be.

Misterlee’s songs are constructed using an oddball array of noises - drones, wooshes, and a deranged doll’s mechanical cackle. Certain lyrics suggest the theme of childhood as looked back on from the regretful, melancholy recesses of adulthood. There’s a black and blue sense of foreboding to this record, it’s simultaneously unnerving and soothing, sparsely creepy and lovingly constructed. Skewed, impish and unsettlingly intriguing.

R.R.R.G: Maundering pulsing botany

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