Muricidae, the duo of John Fryer and Louise Fraser, has revealed its first EP, Tales from a Silent Ocean. Awash with atmosphere, the release is infused with the sophisticated style that Fryer conjured up for 4AD during his time as a member of This Mortal Coil and studio magician at Blackwing Studios.
The collection begins with “Away,” a flowing Siren-song in which Fraser’s vocals float like a breeze over waves of treated piano. Fans of This Mortal Coil and The Hope Blister will recognise the lineage of the immaculate production, while Fraser’s voice will exert its alluring action on all those whose hearts have been dashed on life’s rocks. It has a cinematic feel, like ocean spray shot in slow motion, and we’d be surprised if it didn’t end up in a David Lynch film.
There is a rawness to Muricidae’s sound, which is particularly exposed on “Real Slow.” Fryer’s guitars grind with a raunchiness that is sonic Tarantino: all ripped tights and interlocked fingers. Fraser’s vocals are confident and assertive. The effect is primal, free from gloss and inhibition.
“Should I Stay” raises a doubt that The Clash also once sought to resolve, but here the question is posed internally. There is an English feel to the song, which lets it sit alongside Virginia Astley’s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure, but without the latter’s twee romanticism.
“Falling” begins with harsh rhythms and builds up into an elegant, soaring track with sparkling synthesized accents. Like the shells of the murex snails that give the duo its name, the sound is beautifully complex.
Another version of “Away” closes the set, bracketing it with added strings and underlining what Gilbert and Lewis told us so long ago: it ends with the sea.
Tales from a Silent Ocean is released on 1 April 2015.