Belvedere Mountain Express – Cauldstane Slap
On Cauldstane Slap, Edinburgh’s Belvedere Mountain Express explore a strain of playful, nostalgic electronica overlaid with accordion and, on four of the seven songs here, the thin, clear vocals of Becky Rose Fisher. Although the foundation is electronic, the album has a rich, fuzzy, and markedly organic atmosphere: whirrs and bleeps scattered liberally throughout the mix create a sense of teeming, intermingling activity, with synth washes completing the sense of fantastical, cinematic magic.
Central member Howard Goodman has a delicate ear for sounds and samples – ticking clocks, steam-engine puffs – that bring out analogue electronica’s latent pathos and fragility. For some, the tone will grate: there is a childlike naivety and sincerity to the melodic narratives, marked by simple major-minor key shifts, that sets Cauldstane Slap even beyond Múm on the twee indie-electronica scale. Yet those very characteristics give the album a genuinely haunting, unearthly atmosphere not quite like anything else out there. [Sam Wiseman]