The General Assembly: Vanishing Point

-  “...we are the memory of the power in the power lines"

The apocalyptic debut long-player for The General Assembly is made up of songs that we will listen to after we’ve ruined the planet.. so we'll know that someone thought about how we might live with the fact that we did that. that someone anticipated that feeling of loss mixed with shame, anger, regret at our hubris...but that we’ll need to go on too.

When all the networks are gone, these songs will remain, memorised by the dedicated, so that future generations will know we were at least awake to what we were doing, but that the awareness and the power to change things aren’t the same, don’t equate.

It’s this colossal sense of history, the edifice of society and culture glacially sliding downward that gives these works weight. They make us imagine how we’ll feel after we wreck the joint, forgiving us in advance or excusing our frailties.

"Why oh why did America die? / Did they fill themselves with un-American lies?"

Things Fall Apart  has a Mars-Volta dubstep murder ballad tone, D.A. Calf’s blistering guitars bristling above double-time hi-hats and distorted bass that Mick Harvey would bleed for.

On Forest Fire, White Walls  Matt Wicking's angelic counter-tenor intones  "You made your money when the markets crashed / You covered yourself in gold / Said you'd only done what you were told” echoing in double above his storyteller delivery.

If there is a flaw with this record it could be that the immersive story that Matt Wicking is telling us, the movie he spins around us with his lyrics, sometimes seems independent of the sonics. Similarly the cinematic, PhD-level production driven by Calf could easily stand alone. When they match it’s blindingly accomplished, but when either element sits by itself for more than a moment, its counterpart can seem unnecessary, agnostic to the goals and achievements of the other. The production and the vocals/lyrics are the twin poles of this record’s sound, and they need to be held close together lest one overshadow or outshine the other. They could easily push each other apart, repelling like matched magnets. Ultimately this is a strength. Two very considered, thoughtful aesthetic forces combine in General Assembly’s debut, and when those elements balance it’s transcendent.

- Kieran Ruffles.

Album Details

Album Title: Vanishing Point
Artist: The General Assembly
Record Label: (Indie)