Review: Verãopop – Nouveau Shamanic

Verãopop - Nouveau ShamanicNouveau Shamanic is a slow awakening. Organs emulate the hum of an engine labouring into life. Cymbals rustle like a sleeping figure tossing and turning, gradually permeating the boundary of consciousness. The music hangs in a state of expectation, whirring and clattering in a state of agitated stillness, awaiting a dramatic event that I cannot foresee. There is the sense that the album might suddenly erupt into a thunderous piece of krautrock; that the drums might lock into a rigid, cruise control 4/4, and that a guitar might balance a monotonous hook precariously on top of the organ drone. Verãopop fully acknowledge the rumbling imminence of their sound, keeping me braced for impact with the eternally renewed promise of “soon”.

As such, it is imperative to listen to Nouveau Shamanic at least twice. The first listen divulges the fact that the tension never breaks. The second allows me to concentrate on the gentle microtonal frictions between organ and theremin, or the half-beats that lurch forward and then collapse into silence, stuck within a limbo of false starts and rhythmic failure. With each track, the duo rise to a state of greater activity. Track two arches into a mysterious melody, while the drums strike upon a full minute of rhythm stability before tumbling down again. By the final piece, the organ drone has divided into tendrils of throbbing noise, hammering at the door of inevitability like a battering ram, trying to accelerate the promise of fate through torturous brute force. Percussion falls limp and the noise splutters into a state of exhaustion. Verãopop are crushed under the strain of unfulfilled anticipation.