The feathers that make up the fletching on Peace Arrow’s arrow are manifold – dainty little artifacts that are fragile in isolation but potent by their powers combined. The fleeting acoustic guitar snips that enter and exit your field of vision like a moth drunk on moonlight, the jaw-snapping-shut drumstick thwacks, the distant, looming tomtom thumps and the menagerie of bleats, croaks and peeps that steer it interlock like the two sides of a zip. Taken together, they create a climate that is pleasantly humid; the sort that immobilises your body but animates your spirit, and ↑↓↑↓ absorbs all that which surrounds it.
At the forefront of the album is its clamourous production, which knots the various extrinsic articles together until they’re a bit more comely. It may put you in mind of the similar approach employed by revered sound collage constructors The Books, or the homemade DIY scuffle of The Microphones – you’ll be trying to figure out if the melee is meticulously planned chaos or the product of chance. Regardless, what’s impressive is the way in which the Peace Arrow canvas is saturated with so many colours without obscuring the final portrait. The combinations are so organic and homespun as to deceive you into thinking there’s less on display than there is. Just like out there in the wilderness, if you perk up your ears you’re able to distinguish the different sounds assembling the ambiance.
Aching strings overlay one another at the start of ‘Broken Bridge’, giving way to the drip drops of a xylophone family, the buzzes of acoustic guitar tampering, the background squealing mist and the half-heard wind-woven mumbles. It’s a bubbling cacophony that instils tranquillity. No frippery, just the ingenuous fusion of everyday sounds. And it continues, in ‘Your Hands’ with cooperating twinkles and gentle euphoria, far-off whistling and brittle snares to provide a small skeleton. Breathing room is afforded on ‘Doors’ at first, relatively stripped compared to the opening barrage but still soaked. Booming thumps and piled vocal tracks swoop in on a rug of distortion, striking in its presence, denting the landscape as though mimicking the felling of trees.
↑↓↑↓ is not totally organic, and in that respect, it’s almost like an evolution of man and the introduction of the synthetic. Electronic warbles intercept subtly all over the place, notably so at the start of the second half with ‘Believers’, featuring the same serenity as other tracks but shredded and glitchy – the slightest of separations, but enough to skew the pace. The two longer efforts are only long by definition – the reality is that they glide cursively like ripples on the water. Even with the mosaic, sweltering composition being the backbone, there’s no resting on laurels, which could have proved to be suffocating. Instead, Peace Arrow cuts through the air diligently, collecting and redistributing all the nourishment that surrounds.