Portland’s experimental avant-folk collective Au (pronounced ay-yoo) released Verbs this week, the declarative follow-up to their debut self-titled album which came out last year. The band is the brainchild of Luke Wyland, a multi-instrumentalist who released his own solo album PeaoftheSea under the simple moniker luc in 2005, and has since been expanding his musical landscapes with the addition of a full band and numerous guest artists.
Verbs features vocal appearances by Sarah Winchester (A Weather) and Becky Dawson (Ah Holly Fam’ly, Saw Whet), and over twenty more Northwestern musicians drop in to lend a hand, including members of Paranthetical Girls and Yellow Swans. The album was tracked at Portland’s Type Foundry Studios over three days, and Wyland did further recording at his home attic studio over the next two months. Brooklyn’s own Aagoo Records is releasing it.
While the band garners a lot of comparisons to Animal Collective, their sweeping sound has fewer pop hooks (which is not a bad thing) and feels much more like a soundtrack to a strange dream that you’re not sure you ever want to wake up from. Verbs takes the listener on a bizarre and fascinating sonic journey, through moments of sparse percussion and vocals (most of “Summerheat”), to the full-on choral and hand-clapping mania of “RR Vs. D”. The haunting “Prelude” leads expertly into “The Waltz”, a gem of a track in a slow and loose 3-4 time, which feels like the climactic scene of a film in which the protagonist is watching the sun rise and has finally figured everything out. It’s only appropriate that “Sleep” can then come.
Verbs has already been available (and selling like crazy) for a few weeks over at emusic, and is now available for your listening pleasure everywhere else. Also be sure to check out the albums’ closer right here:
MP3 : Au – Sleep