The newest offering from PFE sees a return to the experimental and somewhat dark mood of his earlier music. Doors presents a rather eerie, atmospheric trip providing the listener with an ever present sense of claustrophobia. It seems to offer the contradictions between the ambient and gentle and the dark and foreboding that PFE does so well. Once again, PFE brings forward a CD that is not for the folks that prefer music of the more accessible and 'quick-fix' kind. It demands the listener to actually pay attention, listen (preferably with headphones) and give it the full attention it deserves to be able to appreciate the fine nuances and atmosphere.
Doors starts off spooky enough with the title track Doors. As soon as you press play and start to hear the track you will get an idea of what the CD will offer – a dark, eerie trip ahead! I particularly like the percussion and vocals on Doors which add a haunting element and an unexpected groove. Bookseller follows and lightens the load left by Doors. There is a wonderful blues piano groove going on with some great guitars and vocals and is possibly my favourite track on the CD (although Fathom and Saving the Preacher also provide stiff competition for this title).
Fluorescent Cannibals holds up really well and is a track that improves with more listening! Another bluesy track, although more of an 'experimental' blues I would suggest. It reminds me a little of Serious Zero, one of PFE's earlier tracks, they are obviously very different from each other but there is something about the delivery of the vocals that is reminiscent of Serious Zero (which is a great track by the way).
After the comparatively 'jaunty tracks' we return back to the dark eerie undercurrent withEels Egg! A very ambient, trippy, dark 'Eno-esque' number with a wonderful layering of percussion, keyboards and vocal elements along with the odd 'star wars gun sound' laser thing here and there (I'm not very good with recognising instruments as you may have noticed!). If Darth Vader hasn't got you yet...he soon will.
Fell Foot Wood continues the dark and eerie trip. There are backwards vocals here which are always guaranteed to sound threatening and scary and with the added loops and effects it feels like I have now entered a scary dark wood, always looking behind for the owner of the voices! A kind of musical Blair Witch Project encounter!
There is a brief respite from the trippy, claustrophobia when we come to Fathom. A great vocal track that I have always loved, and one that, surprisingly, fits well with the darker tracks on Doors. I think the haunting guitar effect ensures it blends well with the other tracks offering the contrast of light and dark PFE often brings to his music. Listening to it follow on from Eels and Fell Foot seems to be a perfect place for Fathom to rest.
Saving the Preacher is a great ambient track that, once again, has that distinctly Plum sound. What is it that makes the tracks sound distinctly Plum? The use of the piano here is just lovely and reminds me of an old style piano offering a musical box sound. Personally I love the blend of old (piano) with the newer electronic sounds. I do like that in music. The use of electric and acoustic in a creative way. The Preacher is just a lovely ambient track where the piano just eases along beautifully.
He Did Again flows on nicely after Saving the Preacher bringing another eerie experimental track. Experimental, that is the word for this CD. It is a very experimental CD and I like that a lot. It fits perfectly into the experimental genre and in listening to He Did Again I am left thinking that if this was performed by a 'well-known' artists (Eno or such like) people would be praising it to the rafters.
V99 once again brings in the haunting piano sound and blends it with more 'futuristic' sounds akin to the Preacher track. And that is something PFE does so well, almost unknowingly. Blending light with dark, old style with new and is something that is wonderfully demonstrated with V99.
Book 13 brings about a melodic end. It does initially stand out amongst the others and at first listen seems to stand out as very different from the rest of the CD. It is lighter and brighter than the rest. However on second listen I do like the way it seems to say 'this is me, still here at the end of all the darkness'. Once again light and shade.
So, after all my spiel, Doors holds up wonderfully well. All the tracks seem to flow and blend together. It is quite an eerie, haunting piece of work that blends old with new and yes, does have, I feel, an Eno feel to it. I only wish I knew someone in 'power' who would listen to PFE once in a while and say 'Wow we love it' and offer the guy loads of money for the extensive library he has produced over the years.