Bristol duo The Actions‘ display their home town trip hop roots adeptly in their new album ‘Flourish’, out now through Niteo Records. This album has a spacious expansive atmosphere with glitchy, sticky percussion, eclectic instrumentation and Marta Argenio’s voice a soft, silky breathless whisper floating across the surface.
There is a rich luscious patena to this album that calls up imagery of deep outer space, a canopy of twinkling stars and the kind of neon-lit urban jungles found in Blade Runner. All with a brooding, sinister edge.
Opening track ‘Leap’ has an ominous drone with intermittent splashes of sound and vocal patterns creating a haunting backdrop. The drop in – strangulated guitars that wail and squeal – adds to the general mysterious and unnerving aura.
Arpeggiated sounds and tinkling guitars open ‘Save Me’ which is a dreamy surreal and hypnotic track.
The atmospheric and haunting track ‘Buoyant’ perfectly captures the close atmosphere of the album – the vocals are haunting, melodic and layered and instrumentation quirky and eclectic.
‘Old Flaw’ drives a slightly harder pace with its pop melodies whereas ‘Inner Flow’ is more experimental with its sampled vocals, syncopated rhythms and reverb.
The title track continues in this vein with the soft whispering vocals creating a haunting focal point over a throbbing bass and percussion building up to a crescendo.
The Actions indeed excel in crafting complex sonic landscapes that flit and flutter around the enthralling vocals like an alien presence. There’s darkness and light – sounds that can quicken the pulse and induce apprehension all in the one track. “Flourish’ the track is in a sense the spine or central nervous system of the album.
Songs like ‘Your Sins’ are less concerned with traditional structures and choruses and more about the complex interplay between sounds that weave around the vocals: The Actions are sonic architects that build emotions and feelings.
Closing track ‘Hindered’ with its ominous piano riffs and spacious echoes and distant noises is a fitting exit – reflective and melancholic with a deep dark space aura. Agennio’s voice displays remarkable a range and is filled with resonance and emotion.
Agennio (aka Silty) sings and plays bass while Mo Stellato is on guitars and electronics. You can download/stream ‘Flourish’ here or download though the link below.