Waiting For A Sign is the result of post-punk experimental collective Githead returning to the studio in the first time in five years. The band, which consists of Wire’s Colin Newman, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) and ex-Minimal Compact members Malka Spigel and Max Franken, arrived in the studio with no written material, yet have managed to create a beautifully resolved album which demonstrates their natural chemistry.
Due to its spontaneity, Waiting For A Sign feels like a jam session, each musician responding to the others’ layers to create a complex and hypnotic soundscape. Provided you don’t find the band’s style of pulsing repetition too confronting, this new release from Githead is an unusual but worthwhile listen.
Not Coming Down kick starts the album with its deep and driving bass hook that confidently commands attention. Gradually the band builds on this initial layer, creating a lengthy intro whose motoric repetition is only broken by the sudden introduction of vocals. Their hypnotic breathiness, especially when teamed with grinding guitars is very much reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine – a comparison that lingers throughout the album, even in the record’s poppy first single, Bringing The Sea To The City, which pairs an upbeat guitar hook with ethereal harmonies.
The following, To Somewhere, is the longest track on the album at almost seven minutes. Understandably, the band take their time with the intro, building layer upon layer of synth and guitar loops to create a momentum fuelled tune. Then comes the lyric oriented For The Place We’re In. While this track is only brief, there is a risk that, around this point, listeners may find the album incessantly repetitive and difficult to embrace. However, if you allow it, this album will wash over you and expose its many clever but subtle intricacies.
From the partially spoken-word lyrics of Air Dancing to the moody instrumental, Slow Creatures, there are many arresting aspects of Waiting For A Sign, however, the most evident accomplishment for Githead is the album as a whole. The songs all merge together in a way that doesn’t argue for unoriginality, but instead highlights the nature of the album as a single resolved work. While it’s not an album that boasts a clear vision, Githead have managed to capture a dark and moody atmosphere, resulting in a very satisfying listen.