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If you like to think of albums as snapshots, created by individuals whose work is then captured as moments in time, the images conjured up by the 2014 edition Rumour Cubes would stand in stark contrast to what we saw two years ago. The artwork for Appearances of Collections is a good indicator of this change: vibrant and filled with colour, as opposed to the starkness of the sleeve for 2012's The Narrow State, an album which was the work of a band still in the process of learning - making a damn good effort at being what they were while figuring out what they wanted to be. It's more than likely they haven't found themselves yet, but all six members clearly tapped into some confidence.
It's everywhere; right from the opening notes of 'Seven Year Glitch', the sound is bigger, the palette wider, the musicianship more skilled. The track sets the stage wonderfully, highlighting Joe Bartlett's bass work - before letting him steal the show on the danceable lead single 'Hiyat' - while also showcasing the interplay between the strings at the forefront of their sound. Hannah Morgan's violin and Terry Murphy's viola are an ideal match for each other, giving the likes of Leonard Cohen-referencing companion pieces 'There Is A Crack In Everything' and 'That's How The Light Gets In' the necessary sense of gravitas. They're not just suited to slow-burners, though - Rumour Cubes love to mix things up, which is where the crashing guitars and rushing percussion of 'Do Not Go Gently' come in. A track that ascends skyward before crashing to earth with supreme destructive force, it shows that the sextet are full of surprises.
In the sort of musical climate in which instrumental music like this is usually left to find some space under the umbrella of post-rock, Rumour Cubes stand out due to their dexterity, their ability to blur the lines of genre and venture into territory that other bands of this ilk wouldn't so much as acknowledge. Appearances of Collections' greatest strength is its diversity - across 9 tracks, they have opted to display as much of themselves as possible, combining things that shouldn't work together, but do (for instance, the sludgy low-end, bracing noise and soaring strings that drive 'Research and Destroy'); this willingness to take risks results in an album that makes a bigger impact with every listen, straddling the line between immediacy and 'grower' status and displaying the confidence of a band who are definitely settling into themselves.
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