It gets a little worrying when albums land on your desk that allude to being either a band or the very least a duo but end up being a pseudoname for one person. Usually these are simply another outlet for their already vast range of musical talents and as such you steep expectations that sadly fall flat, unfortunately Millimetre is one such act. Comprising solely of Irish singer-songwriter, producer and writer Terence J McGaughey, Millimetre is his musical outlet and has been so since 1998. Now onto his second album, McGaughey seems intent on scarring the heck out of us all with his ghostly cinematic music as his latest album ‘Obsidian’ takes on the context of an imagery fortune telling session as samples and hushed vocals combine to create a chillingly haunting feel that will scare more than it entertains.
A cross between tribal chanting and ghost like wails, ‘Obsidian’ is not for the faint hearted as ‘Yew’ gets things off on a slightly unnerving footing. As McGauhey’s otherworldly wails an tribal like chants mingle with gentle yet incessant beats it is immediately clear that this is an album for which a visual score is missing; throw in some visuals and perhaps a whole new world would evolve and new life would be given to the tracks. Gently washing away the harshness of ‘Yew’, ‘Lay Down’ initially makes a promising start with a catchy guitar riff pleasantly skipping around amid engaging drum beats, boding well for the track. Sadly though its not to be as McGaughey’s mumbled vocals distract from the track, forcing you to strain your ears to hear what he is singing and leaving you oblivious to the rest of the song, so intent are you on figuring out what he is singing.
As an album ‘Obsidian’ is not a complete catastrophe, ‘Old Tongue Out’ is brilliantly dark and bleak with the hush gruffness of McGaughey’s voice actually working to great effect with the songs lo-fi mentality, building for each chorus as subtle beats transform into hedonistic led samples that help to erase the weaker qualities of the album. Sadly though it is short lived as mumbled vocals take centre stage frustratingly so on ‘I Fell Through The Mirror’ before being replaced almost entirely for an avalanche of samples on ‘Skeleton Queue’. With so many samples flooding the song, ‘Skeleton Queue’ sadly becomes disjointed, a mishmash of sounds that becomes off putting and tiresome all too quickly, relentlessly unleashing more and more until your head simply can’t take it.
With so much going on in each track ‘Obsidian’ falls into the trap of overdoing things, completely ignoring the saying that less is more resulting in a collection of songs that set out to be lo-fi but end up being over complicated. When things do meld together successfully for Millimetre there is almost a refreshing ease that resounds throughout the track, such is the case with ‘Old Tongue Out’ but these are few and far between with samples and incomprehensible vocals tediously dominating the album, bulldozing the positive out of the way and making for an unnervingly exasperating collection of songs.