The AMG All Music Guide - Fallout 3

The final of the three Fallout releases follows readily in the vein of the second one -- again assembled from a variety of different live shows in 1999 and 2000 and assembled as one long track in a series of numbered parts, Fallout 3 is by turns mysterious, invigorating, and meditative music. The combination of Bearpark's guitar and other instruments with the general synth/sound assemblies of Bowness and Os again leads the way, as snippets of half-heard vocals and tunes hover around the edge of perception. Tracks like "Four," with its deep echoes and murky swells of electronic waves, and "Eight," with guitar tracing a beautiful though not overtly obvious melody through further dark caverns of haunting cries and calls, help justify the whole project from start to finish. "Five," likely by intention, starts out almost like an orchestra tuning up, though the inclusion of dub-tinged beats -- with echo aplenty, unsurprisingly -- again shows the trio's general bent for mixing and matching. "Ten" concludes the album on the longest note, a 12-minute piece that could be everything from a particularly sorrowful form of whale song to a faraway factory crumbling in the distance. It's both serene and a little disturbing, which does describe Darkroom in a nutshell in many ways. If there's a key track among the complex web of selections, "Nine," though one of the shortest numbers, could well be it. With a particularly inspired Bearpark performance on display -- his guitar here captures both a certain melancholic yearning and a strange alien power all at once, signals from a dying machine somewhere distant -- the swirling, enveloping arrangement around it further intensifies the experience.

Ned Raggett