Spell Blanket: Collected Demos 2006-2009


Even without any knowledge of their origins, there is something unquestionably haunting about the recordings which make up Spell Blanket, as if one is listening to transmissions from another time or dimension. That sense of otherworldliness is something that Broadcast cultivated magnificently before the tragic death of vocalist Trish Keenan from pneumonia in 2011, but listening to Keenan and James Cargill’s fuzzily-recorded demos that were due to form the basis of Broadcast’s fifth album can send a chill down the spine at times. Some are merely sketches – “My Body”’s terrifying spoken-world incantation, the short choral cycles that make up “Singing Game” – but others, such as the John Cale-era Velvets raga of “Harpin Memories” and “Follow The Light”’s mesmeric dream pop, really underline the wealth of ideas the pair still had to explore and make the tragedy of Keenan’s passing even more acute.

Chris Catchpole