Each subtitled "a collection of surreal songs created from Ricky Gardiner's guitar archives", the twin barrel shot aims at the indie heart.
Long ago the obscure protagonists of art rock, in the last decades BEGGARS OPERA - now featuring Ricky Gardiner and Virginia Scott from the classic line-up, and their son Tom on drums - have been increasingly pushing the left-field border of the out-there genre, and now seem to have reached the peak of it with these two albums, released simultaneously. Both, as their titles suggest, are pointing forward, while the gist of them hark back to Gardiner's stash of instrumental sketches, with Scott's vocals making it all songs.
"All Tomorrows Thinking" is the deepest of the two, starting with "How She Swam" and rounding off with the racy "Faces In You", filled with the six-string harmonies and pure prog keyboards; in between, the sparseness takes the lead, despite all the riffs and vignettes. It's a paradox in the very spirit of the band so, while "Catching On To You" flows heavy, etching itself in a memory, in "Those Echoes", the '80s plastic pop rears its head along the glittery, if understated, melodic lines. But it's on "Suddenly Ahead Ahead" that ethereal surrealism takes over, right after the fantastic, Spanish-hued liquid guitar of the title track soars into invisibility, and if "Towers Falling" rocks the joint in bluesy vein, the tremulous "Sad Songs" booms with echoing twang of good vintage.
At the same time "Dance To Me" would have felt in place on the other album, which only goes to show they're in fact not two but a single record split for the best digestion; that's your thinking ahead!
***1/2 / ****