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A blur of slow, gaping chords literally smothers the vocal tracks on Grouper's Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill. An organ produces only lethargic tones on the album, and plentiful acoustic guitars run reluctant and warm. Sole member Liz Harris ensured that each moment of Grouper's Dragging is coded in these sleep-inducing elements, but her songs also allow for sun to trickle into the room. "When We Fall" is quite bright, but it feels so brittle that it could shatter at any moment. The strumming that the studio mic picked up during "When's" sessions seems incidental, while Harris' lofty Rachel Goswell-esque vocal notes (dealt in spades) are comparatively quite prominent. Dragging is smeared with a ghostly wash, though, and the line between a backing vocal and delicately reverberating organ or guitar is often indiscernible. In "Wind and Snow's" airy wordlessness, you'd be hard-pressed to accurately identify the components of the track's woodwind-sounding base. There isn't any beat grounding Harris' atmospheric offerings, but the idea of incorporating even the faintest pulsing undercurrent would weaken the album's curious aesthetic. For now, it's a tide of loveliness, smothering almost everything in earshot.


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