About Group‘s third album Between The Walls finds them in fine form. They’ve managed to get a better feel for each other’s abilities and this has allowed for a more cohesive project than their last.
Boasting elements from several genres, the record kicks into gear after a short interlude of distorted guitars and crashing drums that blends perfectly into the blues meets funk vibe of ‘All Is Not Lost.’
Aside from that song and ‘Words,’ most of the cuts are downbeat odes to trials of the heart. The six and a half minute ‘Love Because’ is probably the best of the bunch; its jazzy intro blossoming into a sublime slice of blues rock. The instrumental interludes that are scattered around pack a punch themselves, allowing the band to get experimental and veer into avant-garde territory.
Special mention must be made of Alexis Taylor‘s voice on Between The Walls. It takes on a completely different tone from his work with Hot Chip, sounding quite sombre for most of the proceedings. In fact, some of the songs have him taking on a bit of a country twang, like the lovelorn ballads ‘I Never Lock That Door’ and ‘If You Can’t Love Me.’
Delivering such a strong effort shouldn’t come as a surprise for a group whose members boast a fine pedigree. Their experience has successfully been reigned in to create an immersive collection of songs that benefit greatly from the fusion of various musical styles.
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Between The Walls from About Group is available from Domino Records.