If 2011’s Valhalla Dancehall was an effortless explosion of BSP’s stylistic range, this concise follow-up is an exercise in restraint. While hosting their monthly Krankenhaus nights in Brighton for the first half of 2012, the group amassed over 30 new demos, releasing them across six EPs. The typically varied collection has been pared down to 10 finalists for an album that’s part mood piece, part springtime flourish.
Like spring itself, Machineries Of Joy reveals its bounty slowly; you barely see it working – and then it’s suddenly there: majestic and full of nuance. Where their film scores (Man Of Aran, From The Sea To The Land Beyond) wove in motifs from BSP’s own back catalogue, here the influence runs the other way: atmospheric tape loops, gently stacked choral vocals and Abi Fry’s violin tie the album together into one beautifully evocative whole. Disarmingly effective, What You Need The Most emerges as a doomed romantic’s waltz, while the likes of Spring Has Sprung and A Light Above Descending encapsulate that BSP magic: the ability to make something ethereal feel like a tangible, universal truth.
It’s been 10 years since the group’s beloved debut introduced them as one of the most exciting, dynamic groups of the 00s; as contemporaries The Strokes and Killers continue their decline into increasingly lumpen irrelevance, Machineries Of Joy proves that BSP are still in bloom.