Entlang - The Four Sisters LP
Label: Rose Hobart
New Zealand's intimist pop quartet Entlang weren't here for very long – a few years during the 1990s, and then they were done. In that time, the group, an offshoot of now-féted noise-pop group The Garbage & The Flowers, produced one self-released lathe-cut 10", one self-released lathe-cut 7", and one song on Windswept Trees & Houses, a CD-R compilation on San Francisco label Jewelled Antler. It's a small, elegant body of released material, most of which now appears on The Four Sisters, a compilation featuring four songs from their back catalog, and just maybe, the Entlang album that never was. Entlang's music trades in opposites: on first listen, one senses fragility, emptiness, a kind of slow consideration. The deeper you go, though, the more you realize this is music made of great strength and resolve, of fierce intelligence. "Airport" picks out a hypnotic guitar riff and a simple rhythm before spiraling into an interweaving, all-cogs-interlocking moment of black-and-white psychedelia. "Lisa" see-saws on Helen Johnstone's gorgeous vocals and viola, the two threading together beautifully, riding into the sun on the simplest of Velvets melodies. Ghostly backing vocals of "Walking Into Bars" hymn a song of tender melancholy, Yuri Frusin's plain-singing voice perfect for its hushed intimacy. "Nameless One" descends into plaintive chaos, from a core of quiescent beauty. In many ways, Entlang are a return to a more traditional approach to song writing, after Helen Johnstone and Kristen Wineera had formed and spent time in the improvisational group, Dress. Their legend has slowly accrued, helped by the reissue of The Garbage & The Flowers' Eyes Rind As If Beggars on Bo'Weavil/Fire in 2013. Now, Rose Hobart presents The Four Sisters, a selection of Entlang recordings – some rare New Zealand beauty magicked up from history's byways.