Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Fierce & the Dead
Out Now
Rating: 4/5
Instantly more insistent than anything I've yet heard from the group, 10x10 kicks off on fine form with the lead track. '10x10' morphs through sections of post-progressive volume swells, harmony-math guitars and then electronics, never losing its way or the driving backbeat which pins the whole together. Not really motorik enough in execution to strictly be krautrock, it nevertheless reminds of the genre and its more modern exponents like Secret Machines. My only criticism would perhaps be its lack of a clear melody at some points, but then again with post-rock you kind of know what you're signing up for from the get go, so it's not a major concern.

The b-side, 'Foreign Languages' is to me the highlight of the pair. Trip-hop in feel with a solid bass hook, Gameboy sound effects duel with sparse guitar lines for the listener's attention, and though their drummer never quite commits to the ride cymbal, it's classily understated throughout. Again there's not a melody per se besides that of the bass riff, but the samples thrown in are pitch-specific enough to counterpoint the guitar figures and effect a pleasing sonic whole.

Possibly only one for the post-rock hardcore, but a pleasant deviation from identikit delay-abuse nonetheless. The track lengths do not permit a surplus of self-indulgence, and I hope this pair drum up an appropriate degree of support for the full album, due in May.

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