Thursday, 31 May 2012

Single/EP Review - The Son(s) - Leviathan

I'm beginning to think that me and reviews don't mix well.  Firstly, they always take more time that you expect.  Secondly, I'm not very good at them.  Yet despite pretty much giving up on a few other reviews, I've persevered with this one, because quite frankly this little collection of six songs is one of the finest I've heard this year.  Plus ever since receiving my copy, that little yellow cassette tape has been mocking me and forcing me to kill people and bury the bodies in the forest  finish this review.

Released on the very good Olive Grove Records on 7th May for physical copies / 21st May for downloads, 'Leviathan' sees the return of The Son(s), mysterious as ever, following 2011's well received self-titled album.  Opening track 'Roaring Round The House' drips with Americana with it's laid back and easy going vibe.  If I didn't know that the EP was recorded in Edinburgh during the dead of last winter, you'd picture the sun beating down on a man swinging back on his front porch somewhere just off the Mississippi river.

'If I Hear You Talk Apostrophes Again...' was released a few weeks before the EP as a taster.  And what an appetiser it proved to be.  Picking the pace up with a stomping rhythm, before layering in melodies and a rather infectious guitar solo it's the barnyard hoe-down to the laid back Americana that fills the rest of the EP.  Lyrically, the refrain of "When I'm king, you're first against the wall", reminds me of Radiohead's Paranoid Android, and while this tracks is by no means a 6 minute-three part-epic, it holds the same attitude.

The press release for 'Leviathan' contains the following:

"It was the coldest winter there for more than 50 years. There was sometimes a blue hue to daylight on the very coldest of days, when the temperature fell to minus 14C. It was colder at night, colder still at home. Snow fell, trains stopped."

I love the idea of Karl (The Son(s) by another name) having the feeling of isolation and concocting tracks like 'Cocksure Boys' and 'Half-Lived' which are so stripped back and down to earth, they reek of sleepy shoe-gaze with Karl's assured vocals hung over the top.  The latter of those two tracks is particularly dreamy, almost like Grizzly Bear or Beirut.

'Shot Out A Cannon' loses the slight scuzz of 'Half-Lived' and sails down calmer waters.  Lie back, close your eyes and simply let this brilliant song wash over you in an effortless wave of dream-pop at it's finest.  This may be a small scale release, by a somewhat reluctant artist, yet it is equal of Beach House, 2:54, Real Estate, and plenty other indie darlings.

Closer 'There Is No One To Thank' completes the EP with echoey guitars and soft melodies, sounds which lap at your ears like the tide on bare feet at the beach. 

The EP is out now and you can still purchase physical copies with a free download for £6 here.  Digitally you'll also find the album on iTunes and Amazon.

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