Review: Mothlite – Máthair

Perhaps it’s because I’m staring into Máthair’s artwork as the opening track, “Dawn Lake”, starts to constellate like some astral debris. But the imagery here is a sort of panorama of human emotion; a planetarium projecting the heavier and more worrisome thoughts, like some sort of ballading catharsis that ejects negativity as illuminated rock and richly intricate nebulae. O’Sullivan’s voice is soft, drooping – vaguely shaped but constantly spilling out of assertion – while the surrounding music falls into rhythmic line as if by accident; a chance meeting of an absolute musical empathy, with piano drops planted in the crevices between lurching low drones, rocket ship launch co-ordinate calculation and a drum beat that somehow sounds both lax and in desperate attempts to stop itself falling apart. The elements react in a dull orange glow, already dimming as it hits its most ecstatic point of illumination.

The remaining tracks are just as unbalanced and unsure of themselves. “Mother Spider” pours candlelight and oriental influence over beats that judder like heart palpitations – like David Sylvian’s Japan playing loud and mournfully into an empty venue – while “Hintergedanke” gathers like moss around the opening cyclical piano arpeggiations, with warps of flimsy metal and echoes of orchestra clumping to the wheels as they embark on a morbid acceleration. Once again, O’Sullivan’s voice is beautiful and wounded, radiating the spokes of rhythm around like an oil lamp on the edge of exhaustion. The closing remix by Grumbling Fur (of which O’Sullivan is a member, alongside Alexander Tucker) hovers on the boundary between the inward turbulence of his solo project and the more outward and earthly tendencies of his band. The end result is a strange to-and-fro between them – matter slides beneath the feet as if giving way to the will of a strange dream, and I feel as though I’m in a disco that’s melting around me.