Label: Temporary Residence Limited Release date: 19/7/10 Website: Official Website Buy/MP3: Amazon / MP3 “ Hello, greetings and welcome. ” The Books are unusual to say the least. That much can be ascertained from a simple glance at their Wikipedia page, which points out the Books’ lack of a drum set and their lyrical homage to the twelfth root of two (the latter of which can actually be found on this album here). For any other band, opening an album with a sample from a self-help tape would be a dubious manoeuvre at best, but the Books—long known for their found sound samples—it’s an appropriate, if irony tinged, tone setting device. “On this recording, music specifically created for pleasurable affects on your mind, body, and emotions is mixed with a warm orange coloured liquid” And yes, the album certainly does bring the relaxation that ‘Group Autogenics I’ describes, but to write-off the record as a relaxation tool is completely unfair. What we have here is one of the most complex albums of the year, by far. Listen after listen reveals different layers of samples. It really is one of those albums that you could listen to fifteen times and get something completely different out of it each and every listen. While the spoken word samples are just as present and emotionally affecting as ever, perhaps most astounding about The Way Out is the actual singing. Guitarist Nick Zammuto’s singing is so much better, and more prevalent, than previous efforts. The Books have never been a band to get stuck in a formulaic writing process, and the vocals do a lot to keep a sound that’s been around for four albums and EP fresh. ‘Free Translator’ is particularly interesting for the way that it meshes typical Books sounds old and new. It prominently features Zammutto’s singing, but the chorus hook is a particularly interesting sample. It’s good to see such an interesting band continue to reinvent themselves. As a whole it’s probably the band’s defining work and that’s saying a lot. Both Thought For Food and Lost and Safe were outstanding albums in their own right, but The Way Out has something special, something a little more personal, something a little sharper that allows it to stand above the Books other works as a culmination of their of their efforts to this point. All this being said, if you’re not a fan of the brand of near ambient music that the Books provide, you probably won’t find much of merit here aside from ‘All You Need Is A Wall’; they don’t write pop songs after all. Photobucket