Last time we looked Anna Coogan was a wandering minstrel of the singer/songwriter variety as evidenced by albums such as The Wasted Ocean and The Nowhere Rome Sessions. There was a hint of things to come when her versatile voice was added to the freaky world of Johnny Dowd’s last two albums and on The Lonely Cry Of Time & Space she breaks through to an alien universe of sound that’s somewhat akin to PJ Harvey working with Angelo Badalamenti.
Played in the main by Coogan on voice and guitar with Willie B on drums, Moog bass and synthesiser the album is a helter skelter ride into avant-garde mutations of surf music, twang and arid desert ruminations with a dash of astrophysics added for good measure. With some songs written to accompany vintage French and Russian movies while others rail against the recent Trumpdon of America and the threat to the environment that it entails, Coogan achieves a huge sound that swirls throughout. At times almost hypnagogic, elsewhere like a trepanning as she drills into your head, it’s a challenging listen but there are enough hooks to drag the listener on board. A song like If You Were The Sun with its operatic vocals, alien synthesized ambience and closing heavy metal guitar riffs is balanced by the following chimes of Wedding Vow which, had it been available back then, would have been perfect for the soundtrack for Kill Bill with its Morricone like menace.
At their simplest Coogan and Willie B conjure up a wonderful dark stew of menace on the apocalyptic Wishing Well (a riposte to anti immigration hysteria) while Burn For You broods mightily as Coogan wanders into the miasma of Middle East calamities. Sylvia (an ode to Sylvia Plath) has its roots in folk which is apparent at the beginning of the song but it soon takes wings as shards of guitar splinter over rushed drums. There’s a Kate Bush like ebullience to the Telstar rock of Meteor and the title song is inspired by the recent discovery of gravitational waves (as prophesied by Einstein) with the song sounding like a mash up of Brian Eno’s Apollo Atmospheres and the aforementioned PJ Harvey. Meanwhile the robotic pulse of Collateral is Coogan’s response to the US election fiasco as she sings, make me invisible, make me expendable, her guitar here as American as the stars and stripes as it twangs with a fury.