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Creatures of an Hour

Album Review: Still Corners – ‘Creatures Of An Hour’

For a band whose sound is likened to the expansiveness of Ennio Morricone, it’s almost inconceivable that their debut long player – Creatures of an Hour – lasts a mere 31 minutes. Still Corners have somehow managed to shoe-horn a genuinely stunning soundscape into that timeframe, a trick made doubly impressive by the fact you’re left convinced each track is at least that long.

I’m not sure quite who to blame. “This feels so out of time,” whispers the breathy soprano of Tessa Murray on the opener Cuckoo, while band leader Greg Hughes weaves snapshots of Air, Cherry Ghost and Laurie Anderson into the swirling pot. It’s like they’re colluding with each other to play with your senses.

The fact there is so much in here might explain the feeling there’s more than meets the stopwatch. Little snapshots of eerily jangling guitar smothered in a thick blanket of reverb carpets Endless Summer, set against a backdrop of an insistent Jesus & Mary Chain drumbeat and the kind of long, drawn-out Hammond-like organ sounds you’d expect to hear dished out by Booker T & The MG’s. Into the Trees conjures up what sounds like the bastard love-child of Joy Division and mid-eighties  shamblers par-excellence Mighty Mighty, but with a soaring vocal that carries you off over the rooftops.

Then there’s the piped organ pastiche of The White Season that convinces you you’re on some kind of demented fairground carousel, followed by the haunting I Wrote in Blood that could just as easily  have been what the Cowboy Junkies and Fleet Foxes would have come out with if they’d been stuck in a broken-down subway car for the best part of a day and had to collaborate on a track to escape.

All these elements come together in the final track, Submarine, which is essentially 4min 6secs’ worth of joyously lo-fi pop of the ilk The XX would give their eye teeth to produce.

In a way, I suppose it’s fitting. A really accomplished first outing from a band who you feel must have been around for ages judging by the quality they’ve achieved here. If only it were a whole hour.

- Ben McCormick

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