Though electronic music royalty, Kieran Hebden likes him some drums. Real drums–not machines. His past handful of solo records as Four Tet have thumped around with an implicit promise: “We beat and strummed this shit ourselves! Look, Ma: no computers!” So it goes with The Sun, Hebden’s first record in six years with fellow Brit post-rockers Adem Ilhan and Sam Jeffers–the trio once again makes the mechanic sound organic. The title-track opener achieves a lysergic Animal Collective sort of abstractness–tribal drums and some kind of ancient-sounding flute thingy–before melting into the determined pulse of “Clocks.” Most of the album teeters between such ethereal fare and a Tortoise-y preference for dub and jazz forms. “Our Place in This” mingles electronic whirring sounds with plucked, crystalline guitar chords. “Eyelids” presents a wobbly guitar figure and thick, angry bass. “Oram” provides the only taste of the beautifully woven melodies marking Hebden’s best work as Four Tet.
And so, like a lot of the best post-rock, The Sun falls somewhere between a graduate thesis and a set of great come-down jams. It’s music you can either think too much about or not be bothered to care about at all.