[one_half last=”no”]
Grouper - 'Ruins' - Cover

[one_half last=”yes”]GROUPER

Release-Date: 31.10.2014
Label: Kranky

01. Made of Metal
02. Clearing
03. Call Across Rooms
04. Labyrinth
05. Lighthouse
06. Holofernes
07. Holding
08. Made of Air

NBHAP Rating: 4/5


Goddess in dark disguise

In the case of Liz Harris the phrase ‘exceptional artist’ is not just a hollow one but simply the truth. Over the past ten years the singer evolved her alter ego GROUPER into a truly unique project that you instantly recognize. Harris’ delivers melancholic sadcore songwriting materials that also draws influences from ambient and drone, combined by a certain urge to keep things simple and reduced. Her latest release, Ruins, follows this path.

Memories of the past

Just like last year’s The Man Who Died In His Boat contained outtakes from previous recordings Ruins also focuses on a specific time in the life of Harris. Most of these GROUPER tracks were recorded in Portugal in 2011, during a residency from the Galeria Zé dos Bois. Still, time doesn’t really matter in the singer’s understanding. These songs create a microcosm on their own, being recorded only with a 4-track, an upright piano and Harris’ tender vocals.

Gloomy desperation

While Made of Metal starts the album with a slow-pumping heartbeat, the following Clearing and its gentle piano play already show the direction of Ruins. Harris intonates bittersweet songs, full of anger and desperation, drenched in a gloomy see of melancholia. Every song sucks you deeper into this world. May it be instrumental (Labyrinth) or with a longing Harris on top of it (Call Across Rooms). Although a gentle ballad like Lighthouse allows moments of hope, we’re quite quickly returning to a decent state of despair, resulting in the epic 11-minute-long closer Made of Air. By then we’re not even interested in getting our feed back on the ground and into reality.

Once again GROUPER and her reduced tenderness deliver sweet musical despair for life’s more melancholic moments, making ‘Ruins’ another quite fulfilling release in Liz Harris’ discography.