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Mothlite: Máthair

Album Review

Art-pop polymath offers a five-track glimpse of the sublime.

Mothlite’s previous release, 2012’s Dark Age, was a fine example of that rare, unfashionable phenomenon: a grown-up progressive pop album with a high degree of aesthetic engagement. It picked up where the likes of Talk Talk, Japan and even mid-period Tears For Fears left off, but chief architect Daniel O’Sullivan isn’t one to stand still for very long.

After recent outings from Grumbling Fur (with Alexander Tucker) and Miracle (with Steve Moore), here he presents a further missive from what is, in all but name, his solo project. 

Surprises are plentiful. Mother Spider momentarily erupts into a winding folk melody reminiscent of Kate Bush’s Jig Of Life, and concludes amid a swirl of backwards rhythms and spoken samples. Tree With Red Fruit resembles homemade industrial music, its rudimentary machine beats joined by scatting vocal loops and synth pads evoking UK acid house pioneers 808 State and early 90s jungle. 

It’s no criticism to say that Hintergedanke sounds more like a sketch than a fully-fledged work – it offers a glimpse into O’Sullivan’s creative process and is a possible, tantalising clue as to where he’ll shine his Mothlite next.

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