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Review: British Collective “This Mortal Coil”

With tar-black bile and somber hard candy, humans have conceptualized the state of melancholy through science and literature, yet these comparisons rest upon the baseness of physicality; I believe music offers more depth. The album “It’ll End in Tears” by British collective “This Mortal Coil” offers a compelling look at the nature of the bittersweet. With minimalistic but intricate arrangements and soothing textures, to me the album truly embodies melancholy and testifies to the complex human experience.
“This Mortal Coil” was not so much a band as it was a collective of artists under the British record label 4AD. The line-up was in a constant state of flux as newer musicians took greater creative liberties over time, but with respect to “It’ll End in Tears,” notable figures involved were vocalists Cinder Sharp and Elizabeth Fraser (the latter of the Cocteau Twins).
The album applies consistent methods to creating its sadness through spacious production and sparse sounds. “Song to the Siren” is perhaps the album’s most famous track thanks to cameos like in the movie “The Lovely Bones,” and the glimmering sonics against Fraser’s hypnotic vocals make its renown self-evident. “Waves Become Wings” is suffocating and almost manic in its swirling ambience, while “Kangaroo” progresses forward with a mantra-like melody. The song I find myself most fond of is the album closer “A Single Wish”. Sharp’s melodies ringing out like a requiem, the somber layers of synth and piano and guitar, the indiscernible lyrics which give it a dream-like edge, these factors shape it into a plaintive anthem to the feeling of saying goodbye. Music is a language in itself, and the song’s practically sole distinguishable phrase conveys all it needs to: “You know it’ll end in tears.”
“It’ll End in Tears” is steeped in 80s sonics, but I feel the transcendental emotions the album speaks to give it a timeless appeal. It is a solemn refuge in a school-fueled environment of exasperation, and to me, conveys feelings not much else can. I give the album 9.5/10.
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About the Contributor
I'm David, a junior at North and a new addition to the editorial staff of The Knight Times. I enjoy creative writing and self-expression, but throughout school, I feel I haven't had enough opportunity to practice this skill I feel very passionately about. In my spare time, I create music, sketch ideas, write poetry, and participate in North's Academic Team every autumn.

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