As the music from this album washes out of my speakers and I sit here staring at the artwork before me, it dawns on me just what a great visual representation of the music it is. The cover, like the music it envelops, is all about texture, vivid colours being subsumed and fading into minimal lines, light blending into shade, soft edges and abstracted images with just enough form and structure to hold everything together. Get within and the same forces are at work.
At its more minimalist extremes the songs here often feel like a collection of moods rather than music, of wistful reflections made into sound, of heart-breaking emotion, of barely tangible but emotively powerful expressions of love and loss and life. It feels like the resonant ghost of the sounds that hang in the air when the music itself has been erased before itself being lost to the breeze.
At the other extreme songs such as Channel To Id and Night Fog drive on a cinematic electro-groove, the latter wandering into the same fuzzy and warped territory that The Cocteau Twins used to be sole custodians of.
And it is in the balancing act between these two extremes that music of great elegance is created, a new wave of classicism, a film score to a movie too beautiful to be made, a sound which connects dots between the experimentalism of the 4AD ethic and its re-emergence as post-rock, music that shimmers and collides, soars and trembles as if it scares itself with its own fragile nature.
Behind These Doors shows just how cleverly the song writing collects, harnesses and alchemises genres, shift moods and subverts expectations not only from one track to the next but within the each individual song itself.
The E.P.s swansong, the aptly named Song of The Sea, is a triumph of meandering intent and slow burning dynamic build, employing enough groove and skittering beat to catch the ear of the alt-pop mainstream and more than enough cool elegance and detachment to create a cult following. And that is the perfect summation of the Screens 4 Eyes music. Commercial in an underground sort of way, the music that the music elite and the tastemakers will always revel in being the first to name drop in the right circles, but also accessible enough to attract a wider audience.
One day you’ll be watching TV and a Screens 4 Eyes song will appear as the play out to that year’s blockbuster movie or the score to the latest Toyota commercial, then you’ll wish you had listened to me. Trust me, I’m a journalist.