The charm of Reigns comes in the two brothers' ability to spin shifting worlds out of deceivingly simple loops; a genesis tied together by a brilliant attention to detail. Minimal and pleasant, the stories they offer are nevertheless somber glimpses at unknown and almost forgotten moments in time, from the madness-imbibing legend We Lowered A Microphone Into The Ground to the lost lives of Styne Vallis. This time around, Operatives A and B have found an abandoned house, lost to the mists on the far end of an English Channel causeway, in which to record a new journey.
Suitably, The House On The Causeway is a darker expedition than we've seen from these blokes before. Unlike the bright exploration of Styne Vallis' drowned wonders, Reigns have brought us the hushed hallways and still compartments of a long-empty home and its perfectly preserved memories. A piano trembles and chimes from downstairs as the Operatives go from diary to portrait, looking glasses that provide a surreal glimpse into unfamiliar lives. The House On The Causeway is a wholly undisturbed experience that shows the brothers' mastery of thematic delivery - moments like "Bad Slate" and "Mab Crease" recount tales of the unknowingly doomed through stirringly accompanied narration, while instrumental numbers serve as a reminder that these lives have long since passed. The drums are soft and deep, blending in with bright piano and guitar movements, wistful atmospheres, and skittering samples that tell as much about muffled emptiness as they do about meaning. Each song blends seamlessly with the next while remaining completely unique, never drawing the listener outside the fog-lost rooms on the causeway.
Evocative, thoughtful, and serious, The House On The Causeway is a fantastic new story from Reigns that shows a further maturation in their sound. Add to that the morose mood of the subject matter that touches me in all the right spots, and I have a nigh-on perfect album in my hands.
Verdict: Epic Win (9.5/10)