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No-Man - Schoolyard Ghosts CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.68 | 208 ratings

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3 stars If there is one Wilson-related album that sounds like a band on auto-pilot it must be No-man's Schoolyard Ghosts. The band continues the sparse atmospheric style of the preceding Together We're Stranger, and even though they delivered an album that is almost equally beautiful and touching, the 'almost' is the key-word here.

All Sweet Things is a fairly standard pop ballad, reminiscent of Nick Drake, David Sylvian and a dozen other No-man songs. The choral mellotron provides sonic pleasure and beautiful dreamy sadness. As usual with Bowness' vocals, he either fully touches me or entirely misses me. On this album he largely misses me with his affected Sylvian stylings. His vocals never offer the tension and turmoil they evoked on Together We're Stranger. The music is fine but routine.

Beautiful Songs You Should Know is a let-down. Boring guitar strumming with hardly noticeable vocal inflection. Pigeon Drummer offers some entirely out of place industrial noise beats. At least something unexpected happens. They last for about a minute and have little ado with the rest of the song, which is a fairly enjoyable atmospheric ballad with a strong closing section. Truenorth sounds like a song that ran away from Talk Talk's last album. Very melancholic post-rock with delicate Nick Drake vocals. Nice but not overtly original or inspired.

Off we go for more cliché balladry on Wherever There Is Light. The arrangement again resorts to choral mellotrons and spacey post-rock violins. The flute tune is short but long enough to irritate with its easy sentimentalism. More Talk Talk on Song of the Surf. the guitar parts work quite well and lay down a thick spacey ambience. Streaming is another unremarkable post-rock-pop song suffering from the increasing weariness that Bowness' vocals have on me on this album. Mixtaped tries to be more Talk Talk then Talk Talk themselves.

Not a bad album but too derivative, easy and predictable. Sounds like Wilson with the cruise-control on. Nevertheless it's still pretty good, but not amongst No-man's best work.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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