Berg Sans Nipple, Build With Erosion
Their most diverse and ambitious yet
It's been some four years since French-American duo The Berg Sans Nipple delivered the plaintive harmonics of their last full-length, Along The Quai, during which time the fuzzed restraint of that album slowly developed into parody, thanks in no small part to 2010's glut of hyp-pop sloths. So it's a gentle relief that their fourth album, Build With Erosion, is arguably their most diverse and ambitious yet, refracting everything from gamelan plink-plonks to post-punk strutting, with wistful electronica and layered vocal bliss-outs basking in its shimmering glow.
"Change The Shape" demonstrates this stylized schizophrenia in its polyrhythmic stutters, squawked vocal tics and crystalline folktronic chiming, burying its lyrics in razor sharp cuts and stop-start clatters. The counter-balance of dirt and delicacy continues with the title track, where pitched-down beats, so grimy and industrial they seem to collapse under their own sludge, are met by naive Satie-like piano licks and straight ahead dub bass. It's peaceful but menacing, pure but putrefied, deadly serious, but twinkling with humour — and moreover, it works.
Perhaps the most conventionally appealing cut is "Convert the Measurement," a yearning, lo-fi gloom-pop meander that comes on like Hyperdub post-dubstep act Darkstar put through their afrobeat paces. That's not to say this album lacks focus. Indeed, its relentless attention to detail and the off-kilter assimilation of all kinds of global influences suggests that the band's four-year hiatus was time well spent. Playful, poignant and full of purpose, the Berg Sans Nipple's complex stew of ideas never loses sight of itself, forging an enchanting and often inspiring journey beyond the frail frontiers of electronic alt-indie.