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As Lost Through Collision (2020), 6/10
The Lamb as Effigy (2023), 6/10

Los Angeles' combo Sprain, fronted by Alex Kent, harked back to the pioneering post-rock of the 1990s (Rodan, Slint) on As Lost Through Collision (2020). The nine-minute My Way Out is a catatonic whispered elegy for six minutes. The 15-minute Everything opens with virulent jamming but the rest is just a slow regression to an abrasive guitar drone. The ten-minute Constant Hum is the singer's show, a trance-like monologue to which the music adds some generic jamming.

The Lamb as Effigy (2023) is an album of tortured soliloquies. The instrumental work serves the only purpose of accompanying the lyrics. Man Proposes God Disposes displays the worst side of this idea: seven minutes of ranting over semi-symphonica jamming. The singing is more visceral in Reiterations and the instrumental backing (that includes keyboards and violin) is creative enough to sound cinematic, especially in the last two minutes after the drum solo. The stately declamation of the 13-minute The Reclining Nude is the prelude to a dejected piano sonata, but it comes through as simply meandering and tedious. The 24-minute God or Whatever You Call It is probably a leftover: not cohesive and with rare moments of interest past the dissonant post-rock of the beginning and mostly in the last seven minutes. Fewer vocals mean more interesting music: the 24-minute Margin for Error begins with ten minutes of a mutating organ drone before the guitar distortion drowns it and launches into a soaring finale; and the eleven-minute The Commercial Nude manages to span videogame music, ancient Chinese music and operatic metal. But, generally speaking, the instrumental backing is too limited to justify the duration of these grandiosely cathartic pieces.

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