Tracer AMC – Islands – BBC ATL Review

BBC ATL, Stuart Bailie

When American soul musicians want their music to get a bit special, somebody whispers “take it to church” – and immediately the music gets more intense, maybe even sanctified. And loosely, that’s what sometime happens on the new Tracer AMC record.

You can hear the process taking place about eight minutes into ‘Paper Machette’, when the guitar preambles and the mesmeric phrases start to actually mean something and the music sounds holy and true. It’s further proof that Tracer have reached a new level of their art. It’s no longer an indie conceit, the idea of some cool abstraction. These people are emphatically in the zone.

Yes, there are some imperfect moments. ‘In Rivers’ has an uneven flow and the whammy wobble of ‘Rainboat’ is overdone. But mainly, this is rich music for the head and the soul. Instrumental guitar music, expressed through a rack of effects pedals is a famous indulgence trap, but ‘Islands’ is largely spared.

They finish with ‘You Follow The Snow And Are Wasted’, which takes up a quarter of an hour. That’s a great demand on any listener’s life, and they threaten to scare us off after five minutes, but your trust is finally rewarded with a sublime view from the peaks and then a gentle descent towards base camp. See you back there, presently.

www.bbc.co.uk/atl


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