The Silent Committee - The Missing

Owain Paciuszko 22/11/2008

Rating: 4/5

Opening with the sparse, desolate 'Theme For The Missing' there is a worry that this long player by The Silent Committee will be a difficult and unfulfilling listen; one of those avant garde pretentious pieces comprising seven minute tracks that sound like a quiet cave. Though the atmospherics on this opening track are nice they don't inspire confidence, but they do set a tone and as soon as they move forward into the second track - 'Finale' - your fears are allayed. Over a nice processed drumline trickles a piano line seemingly plucked from a 'Kid A' outtake, and the gentle murmur of an ominous guitar combines to make a great piece of moody instrumentalism.

There is a lot here in common with Radiohead's experimental latter sound, but not to a derivative or detrimental extent. The Silent Committee - aka Chris Fordham - have crafted an intriguing and beguiling album that intelligently keeps its ideas quick and well paced across the record.

'Vio' is a simply beautiful track that elegantly weaves a gorgeous piano line around strings to excellent effect, coming across like a tender and defiant piece of film score, but one that survives just as well without images, especially as the horns come in one is particularly reminded of the works of Jon Brion (composer for 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind') and Carter Burwell (composer for many Coen brothers movies). In the following track 'Low' you can also hear elements of ambient legend Brian Eno, with its open arrangement and the sound of instruments feeling distant and fragile.

'Melancholy March' sounds almost exactly how it should, a slow, steady drum-beat with a guitar rising as if something is getting closer, offset by the occasional chime of a glockenspiel suggesting some sort of surreal denouement. It is one of the few tracks where Fordham 'bams things up a notch' and lets the track loose into a growling, threatening finale.

Closing with the optimistic piano of 'The Last High' you are left with a great sense of promise, and an impressively structured record of good instrumental pieces; there are a few other ambient soundscapes dotted across the record, but each moves by fast and into another interesting track that it's a rare, intriguing album and marks The Silent Committee as a talent to definitely keep watching.