The Phantom Tollbooth

Artist: Brotherhood of the Holy Cross
Label: UK indie
Length: (cassette)
So much of the prominent music coming out of the various corners of the music industry is derivative that for the listener who wants more creativity, it can be easy to despair. Like their fellow Croydon (London suburb) residents Secret Archives of the Vatican, Brotherhood of the Holy Cross is trying in its own way to create something fresh and new by drawing on a broad range of influences.
Currently a cassette only release, Sonidos is a meld of unusual beats with chilled out keyboard sounds and some chilling additional sounds. The effect is a rather ambient backdrop of sounds that can initially be difficult to listen to closely, but has a variety of twists to keep the momentum up. The song titles themselves are intriguing enough, especially "Sonic Uterus." That particular song is probably the most experimental, making extensive use of stereo imaging and reverb.
The tracks do vary in their ability to hold the listener, and a few tracks would benefit from a few more surprises or some shortening. The organic feel of "Communion" is definitely well put together. The percussion is extremely yet appropriately low in the mix.  However, this track is one that could be a little shorter. The group is hoping to establish a worldwide web presence for themselves very shortly and, like many others before them, that could certainly lead to a large increase in their market.
By James Stewart (11/14/98)