I keep putting this off because I want to do it justice and I’m worried about saying the wrong things. I don’t want to overegg it – oversell it – but I do want you to hear it because you really need General Dome.
General Dome isn’t this year’s Screamadelica, but it is this year’s King of Limbs: that album that leaves you with a satisfied smile on your face feeling like all is right with the world. I’m more relieved than thrilled because I was so worried that Buke And Gase would let me down. I’d built them up as so frustratingly close to true brilliance but who had only given glimpses of their staggering potential. General Dome is how they start to realise it: to combine infectious melodies, depth and innovation in one iridescent, shimmering package.
Hiccup sums it up – that strident boldness: louder, but not particularly aggressive. They just know what they’re doing and won’t hold back. In The Company of Fish is the first surprise. The restraint. Aron’s subdued vocals; Arone’s soaring voice. Glorious harmonies. They’re pulling further in all directions now, confidently exploring their self-woven sonic landscape. They’ve captured our attention with their homemade instruments – no other band sounds quite like them – so now they can heap on layers of textures, little percussive dinks and vocal tricks, all the while sounding effortlessly unselfconscious.
General Dome is the sort of album Radiohead would come up with if they weren’t so morbidly introspective.
Indie rock? Math rock? Psychedelia? The “folk metal” description made me laugh out loud, though of course they sound nothing like that. It’s more like The Breeders wrung through Sufjan Stevens’ latest nervous breakdown.
General Dome is an ocean swell; a monster wave of ostinato guitar riffs and Arone’s commanding tones. Sturtle is a fuzzy, shifting, head-twisting bunny hop of a song. Cyclopean is ferociously hummable, a foot-stomping demand for your attention.
Eh, I could go on, but I’m too distracted, getting reeled in by those insistent, foot-tappable tunes. General Dome is the album Buke And Gase were always capable of making, but that just makes me feel they can do better still. Riposte was an exercise in frustration: they were coasting where they should be soaring. With General Dome, they’ve taken flight, so now’s the time to watch them circle the sky while we speculate just how high they can reach.