Don’t be fooled by the soft pink-red cover, there isn’t much on this giant four-track album that is conventionally appealing. It is striking and it is ambitious and it is even a little bit beautiful. But its aesthetic is largely confrontational, both in terms of the subject matter it covers and the challenge it presents its listeners.
Care’s most prevalent feature, on full display in the opening track “8,” is a series of abrupt stops and starts. Thirty-six seconds into the album’s conventional ambient opening, a thunder clap of electronic noise disturbs the peace. We’re led back and forth, from quiet to silence to loud, throughout the 14-plus-minute opener.
This all lends the work a palpable tension. You will find yourself leaning into the recording, if only to prepare yourself for the next unexpected blast of noise. It’s virtually impossible to listen passively.
Next is “Drone,” a reference either to more gentle electronics or weaponized tech. Given its bleak industrial feel, my money is on the latter. After a pleasant open-air market feel through the centre of the piece, things turn decidedly dark. There are conventional drone compositional elements here, but that feels secondary.
That reading is lent further credence by the title of track three: “Tank.” It opens with children singing, and then a gunshot. It rings in our ears long enough to contemplate the scene Lewis and Turner are painting. The Arabic vocal that follows adds all-too-familiar tragic detail.
Thankfully, the album ends on a hopeful note. “Mend” is a gentle, pleasant ambient piece that feels mostly optimistic. Under the surface though, a mess of sharp electronic edges ground that positivity in reality. This world needs to mend, and it needs to hope. It also needs to remember.