You never know what you’re going to get with each passing release from London’s DAWNWALKER. The progressive outfit fronted by Mark Norgate has been a self-professed ever transforming collective and their new album House Of Sand which is out now via Room 132 looks to be staying true to form with a whole host of musicians flocking together for this effort.
R.I.P. offers up a chilling, melodic tone to kick off proceedings. The graceful vocal work gently glides through the peaceful yet vibrant arrangement. Aggressive elements sneak into the closing segments. Demon Of Noontide is equally as ethereal, elegantly floating along until similarly bursting into life to add a dramatic tinge. The Witness evokes an abundance of emotion during its short runtime, providing an enthralling spoken narrative before oddly ceasing abruptly.
False Doors also treads the poignant tightrope, adding inviting intricacies and shifts in tempo to keep a firm grip of your focus. Egypt is initially minimalist in structure but proves to be just as alluring, drawing you in with its enticing blend of mood and tone. As the momentum gathers multiple layers begin to weave together to form a diverse, creative tapestry. House Of Sand provides quite a conflicting proposition, an optimistic, positive nature but rather bleak lyrical content only made more twisted with the addition of distorted effects.
The Prisoner ushers in the next chapter of brief spoken word which tees up the sombre demeanour of Repeater. The element of surprise takes centre stage in this composition, striking in jarring fashion when you least expect it. The pacing however does become quite predictable and dull as it plods along. Coming Forth By Day adopts a darker path which ignites a spark under this release. Harsh screams enhance the elevated waves of experimentation. Standing Stones reprises the melancholic musicality but introducing prominent violin segments alongside powerful vocal work really hits that sweet spot.
The novelty of spoken interludes has begun to wear off by the time you arrive at The Master. It doesn’t really add anything to the greater picture apart from confusion and annoying gaps in the instrumentation. House Of Sand II is particularly different to its counterpart. Opting for a gloomy approach which turns out to be remarkably intriguing. Mildew allows for a calming moment of contemplation as this effort draws to a close. If you’re so inclined there is an additional bonus version courtesy of Tomonari Nozaki which clocks in at a slightly unnecessary 10 minutes but could well be right up your street.
DAWNWALKER should be applauded for their confidence to be experimental and not attempt to fit into an established mould but House Of Sand is quite the divisive prospect. It is littered with copious glimmers of greatness but falls victim to its own self-indulgence. It becomes more endurance than escapism which is a real shame. The talent amongst their ranks is evident throughout but sadly on this occasion they fall short of the mark.
House Of Sand is out now via Room 132.
Like DAWNWALKER on Facebook.