The Remote Viewer: Let Your Heart Draw A Line
City Centre Offices

Bathed in ambient hiss, Let Your Heart Draw A Line collects ten somnambulant lullabies breathed into life by one-time Hood members Craig Tattersall and Andrew Johnson. If anything, the album takes The Remote Viewer's music to an even dreamier realm than did the group's previous City Centre Offices' outings Here I Go Again On My Own (2002) and last year's You're Going To Love Our Defeatist Attitude.

The new album's songs are often compositionally simple yet teem with vast textural depth and detail, the emphasis as much vertical as horizonatl; in fact, the group's dense, echo-laden production style resembles dub more than anything. The peaceful, sleepy feel nurtured throughout the longest piece, the 8-minute “Kindtransport,” for instance, isn't radically different in style from the other songs. What is different is the pronounced dub bass that, like a muffled heartbeat, is often more felt than heard when submerged within the dense crackle of decayed vinyl. Deepening the song's lush feel are Nicola Hodgkinson's humming, hymnal voices that murmur through the aether. In general, organ, guitars, and glockenspiel tinkles drift from one song to another, the instruments floating amongst surges, clicks, starbursts, and static, and prodded by gentle pulses.

On the one hand, it almost seems sily to differentiate between vocal and instrumental pieces since vocals are often hushed, rendering them one more sonic detail within the mix. Hodgkinson's whispers haunt the ghostly corridors of the rather oriental melodies in “Sometimes, You Can't Decide,” while the poignant “They're Closing Down The Shop” augments soft shimmers of fading guitar echoes and electric piano with similarly whispered utterances. At times, her vocals are more clearly enunciated (“Take Your Lights With You” and “I'm Sad Feeling”) yet still retain their fragility. Typically, voices are untreated, the sole exception being “It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Anymore” where vocodered smears waft through the song's tinkles and clicks. Here and elsewhere, this beautiful and lovely music, so quiet and intimate, feels like it's connecting directly from Tattersall, Johnson, and Hodgkinson to you.

April 2005