RELEASE DATE: March 1st 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Hailing from Yekaterinburg, Russia 'SAAT' are a female fronted shoegaze quartet with intricate post-punk & slowcore leanings and an alternative sonic attitude. Their debut self-titled two track EP was self released back on the 1st March 2018. The band are made up of Sasha - vox/guitar, Stepa - bass/scream, Dima - drums & Pasha - guitar feedbacks and their debut releases is available to buy/download right now via saatxband.bandcamp.com
SAAT by SAAT
The EP opens up with 'Raindrops', a fluttering sonic web of busy percussion, throbbing bass, intricate lead lines and jangling guitars echo through layers of luscious reverberation as stunning vocalisations swirl and ebb through every single chord structure. This track builds like a steam train, adding distortion and sporadic duel vocal lines to the mix before tumbling into it's noisy & resonating finale. Reminiscent at times to Australian-based noise merchants 'Hideous Towns', 'Raindrops' is a magnificent opening salvo indeed.
'Falling' opens with a military styled percussive pattern and the progressive pull of a guitar progression as instrumental feedback swells from deep below to cushion the slow moving tempo. 'SAAT' deploy their alt-rock leanings here as the slow chug of distorted guitars keeps pace allowing those soaring vocal lines to pulse through layers of reverb. A quick change of tempo and we explode into an atmospherically charged finale with thundering drums, throbbing bass lines and raging lines of guitar dipping more into noise-rock than punk. It's a noisy ending to a very interesting debut release.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Melody Fields
RELEASE: Melody Fields
RELEASE DATE: February 26th 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Kommun 2/Soundeffect Records/Beluga Records
Hailing from Gothenburg on Sweden's west coast and armed with a sound that resonates effortlessly through lysergic tinged waves of 60's Californian psychedelics, psych-pop and the poppier side of shoegaze, 'Melody Fields' are a breath of fresh air in the overly-populated melting pot that is the modern underground psych world. With three part harmonies, jangling guitars, deeply spiritual song structures and an ounce of respect for the pioneering forefathers of the sound, 'Melody Fields' have unleashed a self-titled album filled to the brim with precise instrumentation, intense melody and sweet sonic delight. The music was recorded at Studio Parkeringshuset where Hills, GOAT and The Movements have made their albums and the band are made up of David Henriksson, Ramo Spatalovic, Thomas Widholm, Henrik Bäckström & Sebastian Jannesson with guest musicians on this release courtesy of The Holy Wave’s - Dustin Zozaya on mellotron and Nils Börén on saxophone. 'Melody Fields' was released back on February 26th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via melodyfields.bandcamp.com
Melody Fields by Melody Fields
Tumbling blissfully within a swirling instrumental drone, 'Morning Sun' pulls rumbling drum patterns and repetitive bass frequencies out into the sonic ether accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and addictive hook laden lead lines. Magnificent vocalisations intertwine with layers of resonating reverberations as hypnotic lines of saxophone jockey and vie for space in amongst the glorious melee. 'Morning Sun' is an instantaneous kaleidoscope of sonic hallucinogenics and an immense opening salvo indeed. Up next, 'Liberty' bounds into audible range bouncing brilliantly on a deep permeating bass progression and the jangle of intricate guitars. Again, those absolutely lovely vocal lines captivate this listener as they weave and bob through layers of reverb and repetitive hits of tambourine. There are beautiful chord changes here, luscious percussive skips, cascading bass signatures and soaring lines of lead guitar that meld effortlessly with their surroundings, collectively painting a lysergic themed picture as we traverse these stunning soundscapes. 'Run' injects a heavier gear into proceedings as roaring lead guitars ride steadying drum patterns and subtle acoustic frequencies before dimming down to allow those vocal lines to flow though their verse parts with ease. There are brilliant chord changes dotted here and there permeated at times by lead guitar and deep booming bass progressions that keep everything moving as we fall in and out of spacious instrumental breaks and swirling reverberations and dive headlong into a mesmerising sonic assault filled with soaring progressions of lead guitar. 'Run' is captivating and a definite highlight for me on the entire release.
'Rain Man' is steeped in 60's neo-psychedelia. Woozy, resonating guitars meld with jangling instrumentation before the pull of addictive bass and a busy percussive attack completely envelopes a stunning vocal track. Swooning reverberation and sticky delay add atmosphere but the star of the show is that brilliantly executed and deeply melodious vocal. 'Rain Man' is very catchy, filled with brilliant instrumental structures and another highlight for me. Up next, 'Fire' jangles on an acoustic guitar as closely orbiting progressions of lead, hypnotic shakes of tambourine and intense walls of melody evoke those sonic pioneers of old. There's an air of positive accomplishment here swimming in-amongst the layers of brilliant instrumentation and expert production that is very hard to shake off and those harmonious vocals are an absolute triumph. 'Trädgränsen', The albums penultimate piece, meanders into earshot trembling slightly on a shaky guitar progression lightly washed in luscious reverb. Twinkling percussive hits ripple just below the mix adding an expectant kind of atmosphere to proceedings as sporadic pulls of bass and swirling reverberations arrive dragging a light rumble of tom tom drums with them into the slowly building sonic behemoth. It's vocal harmonies arrive, floating blissfully on the collective instrumentation and pulsing through layers of reverb with relative ease. 'Trädgränsen' is all consuming, it ebbs and it flows, it falls into deep cavernous lakes of reverb and soars skywards when required and it's a monumental triumph. It's my favourite track on this entire release.
The album closes out with 'Morning Sun (revisited)'. From it's opening salvos we instantaneously fall into a glorious melding of eastern themed esoteric psych and flourishes of psych-folk that swirl and flow through hazy hallucinogenic clouds of reverb and intoxicating percussive patterns with ease. It's brilliantly executed vocal lines are sublime and they're carefully buffered by brilliant song structures and intense production. It's a fitting ending to what is one of my favourite releases of this year.
ARTIST: The Altered Hours
RELEASE: On My Tongue
RELEASE DATE: 9th March 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Art for Blind/Penske Recordings
After a year's worth of touring in support of their stunning debut album 'In Heat Not Sorry', Irish-based noise merchants 'The Altered Hours' decamped to Dublin's Bow Lane Studios to record their highly anticipated brand new four track EP entitled 'On My Tongue' . With a sound that typically tumbles through swathes of experimental psych, swirling fuzz and is at times peppered with layers of noisy shoegaze, the band decided to take a slight sojourn on this latest release by swerving into the noisier side of rock & roll thus giving us a little glimpse of what's to come on their forthcoming full length sophomore release. 'On My Tongue' was officially released on March 9th 2018 via Art For The Blind Records/Penske Recordings and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from thealteredhours.bandcamp.com
On My Tongue by The Altered Hours
A fuzzy guitar progression generously harassed by menacing feedback, fret noise and jittering reverberation announces the arrival 'On My Tongue', the EP's opening salvo. It's rumbling percussion arrives from deep below the mix, building meticulously as it pulls a skittish beat and that repetitive bass signature with it into audible range to carefully circumnavigate an impressive opening vocal line. This track explodes into a cacophony of angry noise and it's filled to the brim with a repetitive injection of fuzz, pounding drums, throbbing bass lines and that addictive pulse of feedback laden guitars. Up next, 'Open Wide' shuffles into earshot swirling brilliantly through heady layers of moody atmospherics and sticky reverberation as the slow tempo of drums undulate and move like a well oiled pendulum allowing the hum of that luscious bass progression and the accompanying repetitive guitar line wash over the listener completely. Sporadic lines of lead guitar meander in and out of the mix as another impressive vocal performance hovers in close proximity, shadowed at times by haunting lines of backing vocals and those turbulent swells of resonating instrumentation.
'Over The Void', the EP's penultimate piece, drives a noisy wedge into the sonic ether as a rumbling percussive assault attacks the senses allowing those melodic vocalisations to swirl and meld with angry guitars and the pulse of sullen bass frequencies. This track is triumph, a bloody masterpiece and a definite highlight for me on the entire release. The EP closes out spiralling into the ether stuck fast to a repetitive beat and the glistening sound of tambourine, jangling stabs of guitar and acoustic frequencies. 'Hey No Way' is thoroughly addictive and is interspersed at times with passages of experimental psych, neo-psych and fuzzed out rock and roll. Brilliantly executed vocal lines ride turbulent layers of instrumentation that collectively soar into the ether, increasing in tempo with each cyclonic circumference, before plateauing into a huge sonic behemoth and nose diving into it's sullen finale. It's a huge ending to a marvellous EP.
'The Altered Hours' have twisted and reshaped their normal sonic attack into something altogether new and mesmerising with 'On My Tongue'. It has subtle highlights of post-punk, psych, neo-psych, shoegaze and riotous rock & roll all bundled up into one almighty white knuckle sonic thrill ride.
ARTIST: Lost Echoes
RELEASE: No Tomorrow
RELEASE DATE: March 5th 2018
Portland based space-gazers 'Lost Echoes' self-released their debut three track EP entitled 'No Tomorrow' to the masses back on March 5th 2018. Their collective sound swims in a heady sonic brew filled with driving reverb laden instrumentation overlaid with a deeply atmospheric hue. The band are made up of David Gross - guitar/vocals/production, Joel Cox - bass, Marcus Knauer - drums/production & Michael Lynch - guitar with the three track EP available to buy/download right now via lostechoes.bandcamp.com/album/no-tomorrow
No Tomorrow by Lost Echoes
The EP's title track growls into life driving comfortably on a steady percussive pattern and a woozy bass line as feedback laden atmospherics squeal and dance just below the mix. 'No Tomorrow' pulls vocal lines into the mix completely enveloped in resonating guitars and lashings of hypnotic reverberation as brilliantly executed guitar progressions lead us into a wonderful chorus break before we dive headlong into passages of billowing distortion. Up next, 'So Tired' ambles into audible range rocking slowly on a metronomic tempo as swells of guitar and booming bass frequencies step into luscious lines of jangling guitar and beautiful entrancing reverberation. This track swoons as the beat picks up tip tapping through time signatures at will allowing the ear to fall onto those shimmering guitars. as instrumental pieces go, 'So Tired' is a triumph and worthy of your ears.
The EP closes out with a Marcus Knauer Redux of the title track 'No Tomorrow'. It does exactly as it says on the tin and fans of these kind of remixes will enjoy the finished article. All in all 'No Tomorrow' is a very interesting EP indeed filled with brilliantly executed song writing and deft instrumentation making 'Lost Echoes' ones to watch throughout 2018.
ARTIST: Close Encounter
RELEASE: Lost Time
RECORD COMPANY: Look Up Records
Bit of emotive jangle-pop, a bit of synth laced melody and a dash of reverb soaked guitar is an accurate summary of 'Lost Time' by Seattle-based 'Close Encounter', a neat and playful album that bounces between sun-soaked dream-pop and darker, thought provoking shoegaze with hints of unruly psych bubbling beneath the mix. Their previous release, an EP entitled 'First Light', was successfully reviewed by Primal Music, exploring similar territory that is traversed here, on 'Lost Time'. The band are made up of Bill Darksoft, Bobby Sydney & Cameron Lambert and the album had it's official release back on the 9th March 2018. You can buy/download it in full right now via closeencounterband.bandcamp.com
Lost Time by Close Encounter
The album opens with the title track, a neatly packaged introduction to the album and its core sounds: laid back guitar riffs, loose instrumentation and the soaring yet slightly filtered vocals. ‘Never By My Side’ repeats this in a similar fashion but in a more spectacular way: its one of the albums top tracks: things are slowed down and a more dense production is added to the mix, including synth. The sound of the song is that of tightly and well thought out jangle-pop, a genre that of late seems to be getting done over and over again. ‘New Era’ is also a fantastic song, but the mood seems a tad more downtrodden. The riffs are again both enjoyable and thought provoking, the drums keep the pace nicely, the bass and guitar meld together neatly, and the keyboard adds a beautiful background layering. ‘Dark Times’ continues this synth-pop sound, with a catchy sequenced-bass based chorus and one of the nicest vocal productions on the album.
‘Wonder Why’ aims for more of an alt-rock or post-punk feeling, and achieves it; especially with its guitar tone and drum beat. This switch up offers a nice break from the previous songs that have all retained a similar sound but still maintains the main elements of the band production and mixing wise. ‘Indefinite Hours’ returns to the laid back jangle-pop of previous songs, this time, however, things are mixed together so well that the band somehow manage to make it one of the albums best songs. ‘Thinking of You’ hints at the laziest set of lyrics on the album, and musically nothing much new is really going on since the previous tracks. And that’s the thing, from here on in, with a few exceptions, things begin to sound very very similar: some songs sound like previous tracks with different tempos or effects. This very fact makes the second half of the album feel like more of a slog than a laid back , enjoyable listen. ‘How Long?’ is perhaps the highlight of the second half: the keyboard lead chorus is catchy and enjoyable and the instrumentation and production make the whole thing even more interesting. ‘Cold Call’ begins interestingly, and credit should certainly be given to the drum track and detuned guitars, but overall, after a while, you’re left wondering what you’re listening to. ‘Echo’, while sounding more present and dense than a few of the previous tracks is also one that, with different tones and mixing could sound very similar to the first few tracks. ‘Transmissions’ fits well in the context of intermission based tracks, but never really adds anything substantial to the album as a whole.
'Close Encounter' are the sort of band that succeed in a few different ways: theres the live aspect, which, although I haven’t seen them live, I can imagine as being an enjoyable, laid back experience. Another way is the format of EP: a few songs that hold a type of sound: not too long, not too dense, and just an enjoyable amount of jangle-pop. The third way is putting them on in the background, and while I’m not going to get into the philosophy and credibility of ‘background’ music, I’ll say this: there is a kind of art form for being ‘good’ background music. 'Lost Time', therefore, is a good album… But it become a slightly tiring listen: the band does what they do well., but they do it a bit too much. That’s not too say this album is a bad listen, its perhaps just to say that in the format of a full length album, 'Close Encounter' slightly over stretch themselves. The song writing on the most notable songs is of a top notch, and in regards to the genre of jangle-pop, they are truly original. Similiarly, the performances, the mixing and the production are equally as fantastic, together on the best parts of the album, these elements combine to make a noteworthy statement through laidback sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Flower Crown
RELEASE DATE: 20th October 2017
Looking for something that can simultaneously relax you into a summer daze and make you think and appreciate what you’re hearing? You’ve found it in 'GLOW' by Pittsburgh based duo 'Flower Crown', a release that takes it's dream pop from layers of deep crunch and the fuzz of borderline noise right back into a comforting, dreamy, sun-drenched breath of fresh air that evokes the same kind of moods as French based dream pop genius - 'Pastel Coast'. And much like Pastel Coasts various EP's, Flower Crowns album 'GLOW' triumphs because it doesn’t attempt to traverse new ground, rather, it sticks to what it knows… And sticks to it very well. Originally released back in October 2017, 'GLOW' is available to buy/download right now via flowercrownmusic.bandcamp.com
GLOW by Flower Crown
The album begins with the slow turn of ‘True Blue’; a mixture of dream pop guitar tones and slowly delicate percussion. Among the mix, the keyboard plays comfortably with the guitars and the vocals, which bounce around; propelled by reverb. ‘Web’ maintains a similar feel, although the tones and textures seem a tad deeper and perhaps also a tad darker. The song sounds like it could have comfortably come off either of the aforementioned Pastel Coast EPs, with its light but dense guitar playing and background hum. ‘Web’ stands as an album highlight; the chorus shines strongly among the waves of sound the band push out, patiently, comfortably and ultimately beautifully. ‘Bloodshade’ offers another fantastic chorus, as well as the continuation of the catchiness heard on previous tracks. The song also manages to balance a nice mixture of dream pop and an FX’d soaked alternative rock feel.
‘Moon Water’, from its opening ambience and single guitar plucking, also stands as an album highlight even if it is simply an intermission/interlude track; of note, the textured, light soundscape in the background succeeds in its subtleness and delicacy. The most introspective and nostalgic the band get can be found on the track ‘Frame and Frame’ which just so happens to also be one of the best tracks on the entire album. The songs beginning rolls around, evoking images of beaches, the tide washing in, and a clear blue sky, before dipping into a more alt-rock sound. The waves of echo and reverb can be heard on the brilliant ‘Pls’, which shows the bands excellent guitar playing in full stride, as well as a memorably patient yet downtrodden vocal performance; capturing the songs essence and the bands sound in a compelling and dreamy way. The ultra slow and dream-soaked ‘Rearview’ brings the tempo down to an almost slowcore level. The track utilizes dense background noise and ambience to remind the listener of the depth of both of the song itself and the sound around it. ‘Lady of the Lake’ continues this kind of laidback tempo, with the guitars plucking and strumming in perfect harmony with the slow beat of the drums. Altogether, the song stands as a kind of symbol for the rest of the album; slow, thoughtful, nostalgic and most importantly, sonically rewarding.
'Flower Crown' have released a successful dream pop album, crossing the lines between lazy yet comforting background music and intrinsically, provocatively picturesque listening. The performances, while slight, offer a rewarding and understandly dreamy listen. Fans of the genre will be impressed, and those who aren’t… will still be impressed. They’ll mostly be impressed by the mixing, the production, and perhaps most obviously, the clever and enjoyable sound.
ARTIST: Ten Million Lights
RELEASE DATE: 23rd February 2018
Portland based 'Ten Million Lights' pull influences from from shoegaze, post-punk and modern psych rock to craft and create a sound so luscious it will have you instantly hooked and checking their back catalogue in a heartbeat. Comprising of Ryan Carroll - vocals/guitars, Eric Block - guitars, Emily Logan - vocals/guitars, Russ Ellis - bass & Scott Smith - drums they unleashed their four track sophomore EP onto the world back on February 23rd 2018. 'Bellicose' is available to buy/download right now from tenmillionlights.bandcamp.com
Bellicose by Ten Million Lights
'Bellicose' opens up stuck fast to a jangling guitar progression before swirling vocalisations and the pull of bass frequencies add a heady weight to proceedings. Percussion free and lasting for under two minutes, 'Simplicity' tumbles and flows brilliantly, building with each sonic circumference before falling off a veritable cliff and on into it's unexpected finale. Up next, 'Falling Apart (extended mix)' erupts into a pounding percussive beast. Noisy layers of angry guitar and throbbing bass envelope that brilliantly executed vocal track as we swoon effortlessly through shimmering reverberations peppered with catchy hooks and brilliant production. Bouncing post-punk hued bass lines meander in and out of the mix, cascading at times through catchy lines of lead guitars and brilliantly poised acoustic breaks making this track a definite highlight for me.
'Smother', the EP's lead single, opens up riding a wall of brilliant noise. Humming bass lines ride a steady percussive pattern as feedback laden guitars and catchy lead lines pull those duel verse vocal lines (reminiscent of 'Goo' era 'Sonic Youth'), into the mix before tumbling out the back end into a mesmerisingly melodic chorus progression. Although I hate using these analogies, I can't help hearing subtle similarities to 'RIDE, Catherine Wheel' and the melodic side of 'The Brian Johnstown Massacre' swirling through this track, making it a bloody good listen. The EP close out with a instrumental of sorts. Channelling their inner MBV, 'Ten Million Lights' unleash 'Dakota/Code/Talker' onto the listener. Woozy reverb laden guitars pull turbulent layers of hovering vocalisations into the mix ,underpinned at times by the addictive throb of bass and resonating frequencies, as we fall into those lusciously spacious beaks and eventually out into that infectious ending. Its a great closing track that literally showcases this bands abilities as musicians. They must make one hell of a racket playing live!
RELEASE: Youth EP
RELEASE DATE: 3rd march 2017
There is something inherently satisfying about following a band from it's earliest incarnation, watching it grow in stature through each of it's online releases and being constantly amazed at how their sound has matured collectively over that time period to eventually stand as a bastion of sonic brilliance in a country that is over saturated with mediocre rock bands and rehashed musical trite. Hailing from the Irish Republic’s rugged northwestern periphery and held fast in a belief that sonic experimentation across many different musical genre’s is the only formula needed to express artistic freedom, resides one of the best modern day experimental psych-gazing collectives to ever have graced this fair isle. Led by the charismatic & multi-lingual Robert Mulhern and a rag tag bunch of instrumental geniuses and with a collection of releases under their belts, 'Tuath' have returned with a brand new six track monolith entitled 'Youth'. This latest EP swims in a broiling sonic broth filled with tantalising slivers of modern psych, noise-rock, trip-hop, prog-rock, shoegaze, krautrock and now with the added ingredient of shimmering experimental ambience used primarily to level us off slightly as we tumble skywards out into the ether. 'Youth' was officially released on March 3rd 2018 and is available to buy/download from right now via tuath.bandcamp.com
Youth EP by Tuath
The EP opens up with 'Youth', a blistering lysergic tinged melding of trip-hop and swirling effervescent psych that tumbles superbly through swathes of glistening reverb and hazy electronic instrumentation deftly accompanied by meandering guitar progressions and rolling synth swells that stick to that instantly recognisable vocalisations courtesy of Robert Mulhern. Up next is the brilliant 'Cuz Why!?'. Unusually stripped back for Tuath , this track dispenses with their usual tidal wave of reverb to deftly showcase the bands vocal abilities. They've also added the subtle throb of post-punk to their unique sonic collage, inserting it brilliantly in amongst the swirling lysergic electronics and pounding percussion thus adding another layer to their already immense sonic arsenal. A sticky reverb-hued guitar progression announces the arrival of 'Rose Tinted Glasses', my favourite track on the entire release. This in turn pulls steady percussion and the throb of bass frequencies with it as a swirling air of menace hangs nonchalantly in the closely accompanying atmosphere. Humming electronics and subtle swells of synth join in on the cranial assault as those bass lines morph into something altogether funky. This track is deeply experimental albeit with some additional informed songwriting knowhow to add that tantalising ambient strewn break filled with synth, saxophone and addictive electronics all swirling effortlessly around Rob's vocals. 'Rose Tinted Glasses' is a monumental triumph and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal Music.
'Old Man Yells At Cloud' is melodic, bouncy and a reverb laced noise-rock gem. It opens up with hazy guitars hugging tightly wound vocal lines, strapped to a big bass line before streaming electronic finery begins to bubble from just below the mix and we're walked hand in hand through the opening verse and pushed headlong into that noisy and animalistic chorus change. It's fast paced rinse and repeat stuff from here on in with a verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure as soaring lines of synth merge with explosive percussion and fuzzy guitars to form a massive wall of sound, only broken sporadically by the skip of addictively cascading base frequencies. Up next, the EP's penultimate piece, brilliantly titled 'And Your Cock Gets Soft/Take Me To Your Dealer' ambles into audible range rocking slowly on a metronomic percussive swagger and and an ounce of dry vocal humour before winding up into a sort of fuzzy foxy lady kind of vibe! It's an interesting sojourn that leads us into the EP's closing track. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' shimmers on a tremulous guitar progression as swirling instrumental drones build meticulously from below the mix and Rob's reverb hued vocals sweep into view pulling sparse percussion and deep permeating bass frequencies with them. 'I'm Sorry Young Man' builds brilliantly, adding layer after layer of instrumentation that sticks to the sequenced lines of synth and those fizzing electronics before feedback heavy guitars meander in and out of seamless production values adding a hard hitting atmospheric edge to proceedings that cuts through the melancholic feel of the entire track. It's a marvellous ending to a brilliantly executed EP.
RELEASE DATE: December 4th 2017
Do you like your dream pop lush, thick, full of ambient undertones and ethereal texturings? If so, look no further than the new Heligoland EP - 'Coriallo', a mixture of the deepest most harmonious dream pop mixed with the kind of ambience relative to somebody like Eno or even Robin Guthrie. In fact, this EP is mixed, produced and mastered by the man himself, known for his contributions to what we now know as ethereal wave and alternative rock in general via his stint in the famous Cocteau Twins. His touch and contribution on the EP are highly notable; I felt like some of the songs atmospherically sounded very similar to 'Guthries' - Continental (released 2006), a brilliant mixture of instrumental ambience that I highly recommend. Anyway, thankfully here Guthrie's position as producer only adds to the band and their sound; he leaves room for originality while enhancing elements of the bands performance and texturing, to achieve brilliant sounds for the listener. 'Coriallo' was officially released back on December 4th 2017 and is available to buy/download right now on various formats via heligoland.bandcamp.com
Coriallo by Heligoland
'Coriallo' opens with ‘Elk’; a low, downtempo and moody track that is built around the slow tempo of the drums and the shimmering background soundscapes of what I assume is some kind of synth. Guitar tones are lush and dreamy, reverberating and echoing around the mix, mingling with the voice. Speaking of which, the vocals remain extremely emotive for the whole song, somewhat clear in the mix but always suitable to the music. Lines like ‘I want to turn away/ because the right way seems to fool my mind’ become fully realized and emphasised by the beauty and patience of the vocals on the song. ‘Orion’ almost does away with the drums in favour of a more guitar based sound; the entire song is like a conversation between the vocals and the guitar. Deep down at the back of the mix, the drums steadily roll along with the rhythm. Structural the song feels free form; a fact that makes the listener pay closer attention to the performances and sounds. In turn these elements hold their own, assisted greatly by Guthries technical wizardry.
‘Anavo’ begins strong but enters a rough patch where it begins to sound like background music as the melodies and sound drift off distantly. The vocals enter a pitch range that seems a tad too comfortable with the guitar, creating a melding together of instruments that seems to kind of alter the music into background sounds. I’m glad to say though, that the followup ‘Three’ puts things back on course for the band. This track uses the same downtempo mood as the opener; the guitars are strummed distantly along with the beautiful sound of dreamy synths in the background. The vocals become a heavier, more defined sound, and the bass and drums step up to form a truly enjoyable rhythm section. The second half of the song is especially brilliant, and certainly a high point for the album in terms of the guitar. ‘Trust’ is possibly the best song on the EP; layered, emotive vocals open the mix and push it forward: layers of immaculately mediative guitars and atmospherics cover the corners of the sound… a truly beautiful song.
Rumour has it that Heligoland, with Guthrie producing, are releasing a full length album, which makes me consider a few things in relation to my thoughts on the album. Firstly, before that, I have to say that I really did enjoy this EP. I loved the performances, I love the texturings and the songwriting, and perhaps most of all I liked the production and overall quality of the sound. But, five songs was about enough. What I mean by this is by the time I reached the fifth track, I had heard just about as much slow simple drum beats, a particular vocal pitch and the lush roll of guitars that one could. On a full length, things may have to be altered a bit, or the same recipe may make the food taste bland. This EP however, pertains to the not too little and not too much rule, landing somewhere neatly in a place that makes it what some would call a comfortable listen. Things are glistening, things are beautiful, things are slightly contemplative and things are personified, positively transfigured and majestically presented through pure, beautiful sound.
ARTIST: Burning House
RELEASE DATE: 17th February 2018
Southampton based 'Burning House' inject blissed out noisy infusions of sublime melancholy into their sound that is very, very hard to shake off. Streaming through shoegaze, melody driven alternative rock and swirling dream pop, 'Burning House' have evolved somewhat from their heavier and more alternative feedback driven debut single 'If You Won't' adapting and sculpturing a collective sound so serine in it's approach that on first listen it immediately harkened back to those early 90's pioneering shoegaze stalwarts 'MBV, Ride & Swervedriver' with song structures reminiscent of early 'Verve' and the absolute raw power of (dare I say it?) - 'Smashing Pumpkins'. Their four track debut EP entitled 'Tracer' was released back on the 17th February 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via burninghouse.bandcamp.com
Tracer by Burning House
'Ripened' pulls like a racehorse as it drives into the ether on a bedrock of pounding percussion accompanied by the wooziness of reverberating guitars and the throb of fuzzy bass frequencies. It's vocal lines glisten as they ride wave after wave of addictive production theatrics, deftly enveloped by backing vocals and meandering lines of resonating lead guitar. Musically reminiscent of 'MBV', 'Ripened' is a statement of intent and a massive opening salvo. Up next, 'Mercurial' surges into audible range, stacked to the brim with reverberating guitars and driving percussion. A mesmerising bass line bounces through layers of sticky reverb, closely circumnavigating an explosive drum pattern and that addictively harmonious vocal progression. This track teeters on a finely tuned precipice, dragging complex guitar progressions down into poignant melody infused lulls before injecting huge vials of atmospheric melancholy into those catchy chord changes and surging skywards, out into the sonic ether. Possibly my favourite track on the entire release, 'Mercurial' is a bloody triumph and worthy of your ears all day long.
'I Am A Tree', the EP's penultimate piece, leans heavily into alternative rock territory and it's a step back from the previous two tracks. Screaming lead guitars open proceedings before 'Burning House' take fuzz, raw power and subtle psychedelic curiosities and meld them into a charging wall of glistening noise. Vocal lines swirl like ghosts as they wrap themselves around driving instrumentation and dive headlong into a massive pool of reverb before that lead break arrives and overpowers everything in touching distance. The EP closes out with 'Vague', eight minutes plus of swirling sonic mayhem. Raging guitars cling to subtle acoustic frequencies as a slow moving percussive assault and the deep boom of bass frequencies rattle and shake underfoot. A brilliant vocal take takes centre stage here, cutting a deep trough of clarity straight through the sonic melee and instantly allowing this track to breathe and move freely. Catchy chord changes loop and arc skywards catching this listener off guard as they drag me further into the sonic abyss and then this track takes on a life of its own. Majestic in its approach and absolutely mesmerising in it's attack, 'Vague' is a sonic monster of absolutely massive proportions and a masterful closing piece. In my opinion 'Burning House' have nailed it with this debut EP and it'll be very interesting indeed to hear what comes next from them.
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