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Legion of Green Men

Floating in Shallow Water

For Maria, Wherever I May Find Her kicks off the Legion of Green Men's Swim debut and gives one a taste of what's to follow, mixing brass riffs, a shuffling drum-beat, groovy bassline, and some rather eclectic singing. It's all rather jolly, if a little twee. The Borderless Beyond adds a little darkness to the mix—whispery vocals, organs echoing in bubbling electronic atmospherics—and in doing so allows this release to find both an edge and its feet, at least for the most part.

It continues to build, confounding expectations and constantly challenging itself to move to new ground; the fragmented rock-tinged rhythms of Owls in the Apple Tree bring label-mates Silo to mind (albeit with squelchy keyboard overlaid). The friendly breaks of Gammaland and wistful vocals of Patience show other faces, all of which impress.

And then some very odd things happen. First comes the rapid-fire aural assault Logarhythm Two Point Three and then Tracing #13, which is comprised of a few skant snatches of vocal samples. Then the 12-minute DeMystified Time (& Space) begins with the musical equivalent of nails down a chalkboard before turning itself into something that wouldn't sound amiss in a Jarre concert.

Much of the album is like a choreographed doppler effect with many elements merging into one. When it works it retains a familiarity and sounds fresh and original, but when it doesn't work it borders on unlistenable.

Craig Grannell (April, 1999)

Cover artwork