[sic] Magazine

H C-B – Soundcheck For A Missing Movie

The brand of instrumental music that Hidden Shoal normally promotes falls into the thought-provoking camp. From the precise, rhythmic quality of Dilatazione and the blissed-out wonder of Bury The Sound to the serene, nostalgic soundscapes of Slow Dancing Society, few can accuse this Aussie imprint of plagiarism.

It’s heartening, therefore, to find that they continue these trends on ‘Soundcheck For A Missing Movie’, the second full-length from H C-B, a Sicilian collective with a penchant for film soundtracks. Named after the famous French photo-journalist Henri Carter-Bresson, H C-B employ a myriad of instrumentation to create an impassioned, often bombastic sound.

There’s an air of King Crimson-esque authority to a number of tracks, notably ‘Crystal Lane’, ‘A Dusty Book, A City of Light’ and recent single ‘Hot Afternoon On The Bulls Squares’, with the latter’s triumphant nature bringing to mind a certain scene from the film ‘The Dambusters’. The five core members of this band collaborate with string sections and brass arrangements throughout, entangling their guitars, bass and percussion in a sea of elegant instrumentation, along with subtle touches of synth, electronics and ghostly Theremin howls.

Such a policy results in inspiring, crescendo-laden numbers like ‘Playing with Planes’ which builds momentum via introspective hues not a million miles away from Tortoise. ‘Black’ is a little more melancholic, or perhaps haunting for want of a better word. Its nocturnal glockenspiel mingles superbly with forlorn viola and shimmering guitar harmonics. While, the grandiloquent finale of closer ‘Missing Movie’ provides the climactic, blockbuster ending that we so desire

H C-B cram as much as possible into ‘Soundcheck’s…’ 50 minute running time and it actually comes as a disappointment when it ends. There’s simply far too much going on in this record that too simply label these Italians as a mere Post-Rock band, would be doing them a great disservice.