Domino Recordings – 2001 – 38 minutes

Essentially the alias of one Bill Callahan, (Smog) have been plying their unique brand of bleak and bare alt-rock since their debut 'Forgotten Foundation' in 1992. Adopting the stencil of stripped-down, morose meanderings on life's darker recesses as its raison d'etre, (Smog)'s fractured take on life, and how to live it, is given carte blanche once more on their seventh album, 'Rain On Lens'.

At only 38 minutes long, 'Rain On Lens' is a double-edged proposition. Fans of Callahan's fragile fest of doom and gloom will have hoped for more, while those who prefer their sounds upbeat will probably be rendered catatonic by the album's end. 'Song' is typically wintry, 'Dirty Pants' is a dirge-like vignette of humanity at its lowest ebb, while only 'Keep Some Steady Friends Around' and 'Revanchism' penetrate Callahan's dark landscape.

Some of these songs lack the requirements of what could be regarded as a pulse, while that which courses through the veins of some of the others is certainly not healthy. For all that, however, 'Rain On Lens' is weirdly satisfying.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Rain On Lens 1 - Song - Natural Decline - Keep Some Steady Friends Around - Dirty Pants - Lazy Rain - Short Drive - Live As If Someone Is Always Watching You - Rain On Lens 2 - Revanchism