Out Now

(Relapse Records)

 

Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller could easily hide away in obscurity on his Isle of Skye home, but the former Amebix man, thanks to Pillar Of Fire, is now two albums down the road with Tau Cross…and he’s doing a fine job of building a new legacy.

Of course, this band isn’t just about Miller – Voivod drummer Michel ‘Away’ Langevin, for instance, gives the quintet an energy few could match – but in ‘The Baron’, they have a singer/bassist who has a direct line to British music’s eccentric, adventurous, magical past, from his previous outfit to Killing Joke, to Joy Division, to the traveller scene and further back in time, to Sabbath and Hawkwind.

And Tau Cross use this to build poignant, evocative songs that boast no shortage of groove, from the pulsing, angular Deep State to the urgent, metallic RFID, a rant against ‘spychip’ technology. Indeed, both lyrically and musically, Pillar Of Fire is embodied with a keen sense of freedom and a rejection of suffocating conformity.

However, that doesn’t mean that the record meanders or loses focus: with a few exceptions (such as the slightly lumbering Seven Wheels), the writing is sharp and direct, full of power, tension and hooks: Raising Golem and Killing The King are both cases in point.

A stunning follow-up to their self-titled first opus, Pillar Of Fire cements Tau Cross’s status as a band that we should not only enjoy, but that the world really needs…