Mon 7th November 2005
What is it with instrumental songs and the titles given to them? It's either one extreme or the other. You've either got those that, unshackled by a need to tie in with the lyrics, are given meaningless, and slightly silly names seemingly for the hell of it - 'Celebrity Sharkweek' (Darediablo), 'Spiders and Vinegaroons' (QOTSA) or 'The Taking of Planet 55' (Mothertrucker) being good examples. Or you've got the other end of the spectrum, those that are simply, boringly, numbered - titles, like vocals, treated as vain extravagances not worth the effort - the Karma to Burn rule of thumb. Despite promise shown by it's intriguing title, Una Corda's EP falls disappointingly into the latter type.
So then - the music, sorry about that. What of the 'One', 'Two', 'Three' and 'Four' that combine here to form 'Proper Position for Floating (1881)'? The influences tell you a lot about whether you'll enjoy what's on offer - Pelican, Mogwai, Sigur Ros - those who need music fast, loud and immediate, without fail, probably should look elsewhere, where as Hydrahead devotees should be licking their lips.
Not that it's unoriginal. This is a great EP that the midlanders can be justly proud. The music changes pace, builds layers of guitar, utilises the two basses to unique effect, deconstructs towards minimalist, quiet passages, broods with menace, all the while containing a dark edge you can really feel. It's at times beautiful, enchanting you as its energy washes over you. The long tracks remain unstilted due to subtle changes in guitar lines or drum patterns, the result meaning it never grows weary.
The first half impresses but the absolute gem of 'Three' outshines everything. The instruments and effects mesmerise for a stunning opening. The track builds and evolves and gathers momentum. And then it's as if it's all too much to maintain, the pressure valve is released in a great explosion of energy as the band truly attack their instruments in rock unison. As if exhausted by this, 'Four' is the mellowest track here, pointing toward the melancholic, almost repetitiveness of the aforementioned Icelandic influence.
Like I say, there'll be some of you out there who will know to stay away from this like it's a East-Asian bird with a temperature. And that's fair enough. I go through phases myself where I'll ignore similar veins of music completely; yet others where there's nothing else on in my house for weeks. If you're at all like me in this regard, all I will say is - go get this EP. It is a fantastic piece of music that, when the mood next takes you, you'll be grateful you can reach for.