A little while back I asked Bombazine Black’s Matt Davis whether he worried that the band’s, largely, instrumental guitar music was now unfashionable with an increasingly fickle audience; especially considering it had been over a decade since the zenith of the ‘post-rock’ genre. His response was brief and succinct and it caught me slightly off guard. “No, I don’t worry about that,” he said.
In this day an age of manufactured pop and music as business, Davis’ response could be viewed as arrogant and dismissive; as if to say, ‘I don’t give a toss what the audience think’. On the other hand, if we view making music as an art form then this response makes perfect sense. This is, after all, independent, alternative music and not (with apologies to Bob Geldof) how to compose popular songs that will sell; as Davis goes on to explain: “I really think music should just be made for music’s sake, there’s enough commerciality and phoniness in the world without musicians adding to that. I think it’s far better just to make the record you want to make, hope there’s an audience for it somewhere and then move on to the next one.”
And move on they have. With Motion Picture, Davis’ collective move beyond the relatively closeted sounds demonstrated on debut Here Their Dreams and expand their sonic palette to produce an album similar in spirit but remarkably different in its texture and dynamism. These are clearly band compositions; measured, structured but also sprawling, warm and ‘felt’ as opposed to cold and constructed. The early work of Davis’ hibernating Gersey is a general touchstone here, echoing the melancholy pop of Hope Springs and even harkening back to the metronomic qualities of debut EP Bewilderment Is A Blessing.
Where the album’s predecessor was borne of, and sounded like, Davis’ internal musings, the aptly titled Motion Picture is a widescreen production in comparison. The filmic references are deliberate in this case. The album’s title is baiting to a degree; its self-efficacy is inviting and admirable, almost like a wink and a nod to those that would immediately label Bombazine Black as soundtrack music. Yes, the likes of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky have walked that road and the misguided would argue that the results were indistinguishable from their ‘regular’ albums but the difference is that the music was written with someone else’s pre-existing images in mind; those of the filmmaker. While Davis was undoubtedly inspired by events, memories and/or dreams when penning these tunes and indeed they are ‘about’ certain things, Motion Picture invites the listener to create their own images to fit these songs, instead of the other way around.
Davis and co. prove with Motion Picture that they are brave enough to produce a record that may not shift gold record numbers but will secure them a following of loyal listeners keen to open themselves up to heartfelt, emotive music that trades in sincerity and timelessness instead of movements and fashion.
First published on Wireless Bollinger..