eaststrikewest

Wolvves

Written by: DR on 06/10/2009 20:18:00

The last album/masterpiece I reviewed I graded a 9½/10, so I wanted to make sure the next album at least had a fighting chance of not crushing under the weight of my expectations. I bumped "Wolvves" to the top of my list for no other reason than the congratulatory pats on the back the band had been receiving from some of British rock's finest media (Zane Lowe and Rock Sound, to be exact), so it best not disappoint. Before I talk about this sextet's music it's probably worth mentioning three things: One, Steve Lamacq (Radio 1) chose eaststrikewest as his band to look out for in 2009. Two, the band are currently signed to Thirty Days of Night Records, home to some of the UK's brightest young bands, some of which have since moved on but you've probably heard nonetheless, the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Gallows, Your Demise, and Architects, for example. Three: they will be supporting post-rock heavyweights This Will Destroy You at their London show.

How is it? Well, right from accurately named "God Can't Take His Eyes Off Me" you're fixated. Why is it accurate I hear you ask? Because, well, I'm not surprised He can't take his eyes off you when you're building thrilling Mogwai-esque anthemic sound structures, and building them well enough to have you pressing the repeat button time after time after time, until you then realise there are in fact seven other songs to go yet, so wipe your mouth, cross your legs and put your hands where I can see them. "Stumble" is the first taste we get of Tom Clark's vocals; I usually oppose vocals in this kind of music, they rarely do anything other than hinder the uplifting soundscapes the rest of the band are trying to build. There are three boxes any vocalist in a band of this style should tick: Powerful but not aggressive voice? Check. Wide vocal range and ability to reach the high notes? Check. Able to not only reach the high notes, but then bend and sustain them? Check. Mr. Clark's vocals help the band, adding an extra dimension to their sound. "The Architect" is a more driven track, yet one of the album's (many) highlights; "Electricity" opens gently with Clark's vocals "The mark of the beast hangs over" before slowly surging towards violin-fueled crescendos, making it the most uplifting song and a fitting end (final one and a half minute long closer aside) to a promising, elating and ultimately epic record.

There is something for everyone on this record, the first thing that pops in to mind is the tag 'post-rock', but then someone else will think 'shoegaze', and the more you listen the more you uncover a progressive element, but also indie, and even ambient. "Wolvves" isn't an album that you need to be overly patient with in order to become hooked by it, it's accessible, but not too accessible to the point where after a few listens it looses the 'wow' factor and consequently ends up on the high dusty shelf of your music library. The British music scene, in my opinion, has been somewhat lagging of late. There are some good bands coming through, just few and far between, and seldom does a band come along really trying something ambitious and different. Eaststrikewest are not only very good, but they are big and climactic, and though you can probably think of a few bands that they resemble, they have their own style which will probably pave the way for copycat after copycat in years to come. Don't be at all surprised if this band lead the genre in the 2010 years.

Download: God Can't Take His Eyes Off Me, Stumble, Electricity
For Fans of: Sigur Ros, Sleepmakeswaves, pg.lost,
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 12.10.2009
Thirty Days of Night Records

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