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THE BODY and BIG|BRAVE - Leaving None But Small Birds

"I Shall Die Here"
"You, Whom I Have Always Hated"
"One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache"
"Noone Deserves Happiness"
"I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer"

If there's one thing I admire about The Body then it has to be the hopeless bleakness in the titles of their albums, which have often been collaborations with artists like Full Of Hell, Thou or Uniform.
But even though I've experiences at least a part of their accordingly insanely heavy live show, I haven't immersed myself  into anything from their impressive discography yet.

Their latest collaboration is with Canadian drone rock trio Big|Brave, which I'm absolutely in love with. The combined devastating power of both fuels expectations of nearly unbearable intensity, of crushing, emotionally charged noise.

Well, that's not exactly what "Leaving None But Small Birds" delivers. No, what we get is something different than expected - and probably much better.

THE BODY and BIG|BRAVE - Leaving None But Small Birds (transparent green vinyl LP) (2021)

Ok, no more beating around the bush: This album is a collection of folk songs.

I'm not very familiar with the world of English / American traditionals and immediately only recognized "Black Is The Colour", so I'm not entirely sure if maybe one or two original compositions have been sneaked in, but most of these seven tunes are established classics or at least heavily inspired by one.

Some are only sparsely orchestrated, just with strummed strings and Robin Wattie's distinctively piercing voice, others come with almost industrial swansy Jarboe era percussions. And sometimes even the expected sets in, which is especially impressive in "Hard Times", when the chorus about hard times working in the mill is returned over and over, while the music gets more and more dominated and suffocated by an increasing guitar drone.

The collective of Big|Brave and The Body handles the material with the utmost respect, but in a raw and primal way, as something at its core very emotionally heavy and profound.
And as they are throwing a lot of their own personality into it, the result is an album, which sounds familiar, but then also like something unheard, which you can't really pin down.

"Leaving None But Small Birds" is Anglo-American tradition, it's country, but it's also Native American, it's artistic alternative rock and it's singer / songwriter music pulling from the 60s, 80s and 2000s. It's lost. And it's found.

And it's also an album which I rather wouldn't try to compare to / contextualize with Big|Brave's other album of 2021, "Vital".
If anything, then in my mind this is one third of the triumvirate, whose other parts are Lingua Ignota's "Sinner Get Ready" and Emma Ruth Rundle's "Engine Of Hell". And now that I said it, I kind of want that as a tour package. Damn.

My kind of Americana. An amazing album.

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