'Still (Vol. 1)'
Sounding not unlike a cross between the sublime dissonance of 'Mourner' era Caïna and the haunting emotion of Deftones by way of Mogwai, the Chicago-based trio led by Derek Allen have been crafting a fresh take on angst for a few years now. Their formula of melodic clean vocals resonating through atmospheric electronics, fuzzy guitars and noise is both intellectually challenging and emotionally stimulating.
The band's last album, 'A Glimpse, An Eclipse', showed off their heavier side to great effect. And the new EP 'Still (Vol. 1)' still retains a sense of this heaviness, but the band's penchant for ambience keeps it nice and accessible for virgin ears.
Songs such as 'One Point Five' and 'Sahel' are fairly conservative in their approach. Certainly an interesting blend of electronic infused melodic rock, but compared to the atmospheric dissonance of 'One' and to a certain extent 'Limb' the band feel like they're playing it safe. Not that is particularly a bad thing though as the accessibility of this EP will undoubtedly turn the heads of casual listeners.
In terms of production it feels suitably low-fi with the noisier elements high in the mix. But listening to the more ambient strains it becomes apparent that this wasn't a rushed job in the least. Remove the noise and you're left with a clean and mellow arrangement that compliments the sparse and haunting vocals.
'Still (Vol. 1)' is a nice stop-gap solution for the band. A solid foundation of ear-pleasing ambience crashing headlong into gut-wrenching noise makes for an effective combination, and will undoubtedly be a good introduction for those new to them. But they don't really push themselves very hard when they are capable of producing so much more.