Second Language
08 10

Minor Science Second Language Whities

Angus Finlayson’s debut LP arrives after years of releasing reliably compelling music, from 2014’s weirdo house excursions on Noble Gas, to the sheer adventure of 2017’s Volumes. His is club-adjacent music, and he is one of those rare experts who can make something interesting happen every four bars.

The opener on Second Language is akin to a dramatis personae: a sequence of disconnected sounds which feature on the record. An organ shimmers, there’s the chime of a gamelan bell, an airy swell of synth, and then a curio – this time a recording of someone plucking a guitar’s open strings, before clearing their throat, presumably in preparation.

It’s a useful piece, familiarising us with some of the constituent parts – or vocabulary, to borrow Finlayson’s linguistics theme – of a complex, genre-agnostic body of work. The major omission is rhythm, which on Second Language varies as much in tempo and temperament as the verbal interactions experienced over a lifetime. Balconies lurches with a heavy, oily swagger, whilst the playful Gone Rogue skips like a light-footed runner, cutting their way through rush hour traffic.

For Want of Gelt is a standout track, a high-speed, high-drama piece of electro driven by a Richter-scale rumbling of synth. It climaxes with a blindside rush of drum machine samples so common as to be cliché, but like a concrete poet does with words, Finlayson tests the limits of their meaning and use, wrenching out new possibilities.