A couple of years ago, in what was probably a whole different era for this website, we had the pleasure of reviewing EP Island‘s Sweet’ish. Born out of a weekend of composing, jamming and recording, the three tracks were a snapshot of a band’s talent and, more importantly, the music that can be created when you love what you are doing and have absolute freedom.
EP Island announced earlier this year that they were going to reconvene one day in a house, with the usual m.o. of bringing new musicians to the mean machine that is LL Schultz (guitar, vocals) and Melanie Covey (drums). From this wild weekend, Electr’ish came into existence.
Must be our lucky day that we got an advance copy.
Whereas Sweet’ish felt like an album inspired by stormy weather and lonely lighthouses by the seaside, Electr’ish feels like a long drive through a foggy mountain, with the sound of thunder coming closer and closer, with a slight sense of doom running through your veins. ‘Places Everyone’, the punchy opening track, teases our ears with a slide intro. What follows isn’t a stomp & clap jamboree song, but a brash rock tune that has one foot in the 80s, with those delicious breezy guitars and The Cure-like drumming. The other foot? It’s tapping maniacally, trying to keep up. There’s a moment of respite that is broken by a sweet bass line and a poignant scream. Chilling.
‘Just left my home’ is slower but certainly more atmospheric. It’s like you’ve shifted down a gear as the fog has moved away to let a torrential rain block your view. The long, instrumental passages are so rich in atmospheres you no longer need vocals, just let the increasing ambient overwhelm your senses. It’s a “loud but slow” moment, with a very melancholic ending.
That feeling of melancholy? Thoroughly kicked away with ‘Epic Bea’. Whereas Sweet’ish ended with the magnificent, sweet tune called ‘Teen Age’, Electr’ish takes the momentum built up by ‘Places Everyone’ and ‘Just left my home’ to launch ‘Epic Bea’ out into space. Sure, there’s a very quiet moment where a lone guitar dilly dallies, only to be answered by a nesh guitar and bass. Then it all explodes. There’s this very space rock pick attack that is just perfectly timed; escape velocity has been achieved. Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space now.
I appreciate people taking their time to do an album, but sometimes it can be overdone and the initial energy can be diluted. Polish a piece of wood too much and you end with very neat wood shavings and no wood. Polish just enough rough bits from wood, get rid of the splinters, varnish and you get a good piece of wood. EP Island goes for the “this sounds good, let’s give it some mastering and put it out NOW!” approach to release something raw but still aurally pleasing. Goddammit, they’ve done it again.
Big round of applause to all four of you.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López.