Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rating: 4/5

YCNI:M are a band that if I'm honest I've known a little about for a long time, but only got into recently. Besides their first EP (which is generally the most fan- and critically- lauded of their works, or so I gather), Ignoto is the only thing of theirs that's really fully worth taking the time over. Like The Cooper Temple Clause they seem to have kind of gradually burned out and then given up before their chance to record a 'return-to-form' album. Then again, to use the 'cult band' clause (lest I be the recipient of internet hate), this is only my opinion. 

From opener 'I Am Connecting Flight' it's clear to see where their angular post-hardcore will take them, and the tone is set for much of the record. In fact, a lot of the guitar sounds that would make Oceansize so influential in certain circles are also present on Ignoto in spades, and that's hardly surprising; early tour partners and ascendant during the same period, they were presumably ripping each other off a little. Just as 'Amputee' recalls Vex's 'Clone Jesus', there are equally sonic touchstones between Ignoto and Effloresce

Single '17' is clearly their attempt at the prize; with only about twenty seconds of verse, it certainly doesn't fuck around, and the chorus is a masterclass in the anthemic collision of guitars that will be perfected on the latter half of the record, when they make forays into Slint or Mogwai- informed post-rock (or at least extended structures). 

'Rapt Dept' sounds uncannily like 'Interglacial Spell' from Amp's Octopus, and that's fitting; just as Amp were feeling the weight of their Soundgarden ancestry, 'milo occasionally have to pay their dues to the Seattle scene, and do so most clearly on this track. Their stab at the heart is 'Team Radar', which manages to have a certain pop sensibility about it despite its layers of distortion and dischord; it's this side of 'milo that In Casino Out would later channel so effectively on their seminal 2011 Victims & Vultures Alike EP.

However, it's tracks like 'Fivefour' that really show off YCNI:M's true strength. When the first guitar enters in the left ear, you're expecting a Fugazi grinding punk onslaught, but then a guitar enters with a counterpointing sweet melody and you're suddenly wondering if a) if that's Justin Lockey, b) if that's the first instance of the sound that would define White Belt Yellow Tag, and c) whether it's really a surprise that they couldn't come out with another album of this brilliant traincrash of playing styles, sounds and atmospherics. 

Other great tracks include the axiomatic on/off, pop-chorus/verse grind of 'Empty Feat' and the colossal menace of the closer, 'Audition'. Whilst I'm not going to pretend that at heart this is anything other than a great post-hardcore record, when situated within the broader canon of the last great wave of british guitar rock, it's truly special. 

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