Boards Of Canada have been reluctant in interviews to describe the stories behind their music. It's a canny move, meaning that listeners try to unravel the mystery, adding meaning to the sometimes cheerful, sometimes sinister sounds when really there's probably not much of a story there at all.
The cover to new album 'The Campfire Headphase' offers a few clues to the stories: some blurred images of schoolchildren circa 1980 but the words on the record are deliberately muffled so it could be a small girl laughing or, stretching to extremes, a teenage boy being tortured. Instead, the mood has lightened since their so-called "evil" album 'Geogaddi'; this time around the synths and samples are lighter in mood. Guitars are added; not normal rock guitars of course but ghostly, off-key guitars. '84 Pontiac Dream' and 'Peacock Tail' proffer ambient music mixed up with the kind of instrumental noises made up for the BBC's 'Tomorrow's World' spoof 'Look Around You'. More robust tracks ('Oscar See Through Red Eye', 'Satellite Anthem Icarus' and 'Chromakey Dreamcoat') bubble with ideas and ever-changing beats. Perhaps the key moment is right at the end when the lovely melody to 'Farewell Fire' fades ever further into the background. Just like the rest of their fine albums, infact, that elusive quality is always there and they remain the quintessential musical engima.