IMMENSE - Hidden Between Sleeves

Immense - Hidden Between Sleeves

9 songs
47:14 minutes
***** ***


Some music is terribly hard to describe, and I have been listening to Immense's second album Hidden Between Sleeves for I don't know how many times, and I always keep discovering new subtleties. Immense are - the way I understood - an instrumental band from Bristol who were joined on this record by vocalist Rocky Votolato of Waxwing and also brother of some guy of the Blood Brothers.

Your first hearing experience will show you that the vocals have only been added very sparsely, but also effectively. The album starts with the low key The Most Dangerous Part, which is a nice mellow tune but keeps you wanting for more, and more you get with the second track Shave The Gong, where we are first introduced to the vocal majesty of Mr Votolato. Some may call this song pretentious prog crap, but in my opinion, this song distils what is relevant today about prog, by joining the freshness of bands like Radiohead and Portishead with atonal vocals that give me wonderful creeps. Even the drums have a fierceness that you only know from early 70s jazz prog sounds. From there on you will have to look hard for another astonishing song like this. But don't worry, there are some more treats. HMS Immense is a moving instrumental following the cineastic tradition of GYBE! without their overlong structures, while 22,000 is a more traditional take on indie music with the vocals reminding me this time of the German Notwist. The plus-eight-minutes piece 3-Year Plan may not be for everyone, but has some cool repetitive piano sounds and a very dense atmosphere to make it more than likeable. Even the strings are not sampled.

Hidden Between Sleeves is an album that was three years in the making, not surprisingly, because it is a really heady mix. This is great and intelligent music, that often works, sometimes amazes, but unfortunately also sometimes fails to grab your attention. Still, this is worth every minute of it, and if you like musical challenges, than there's no way around this.

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