Resonant Tense EP

Written by: PP on 01/12/2011 02:44:41

Mender is the alias used by Ash West-Mullen, a Birmingham, UK-based songwriter. He spends his time between trip hop, ambient, and experimental music, so definitely far-fetched from the usual rock stuff that we cover - even from the droning ambient bands and post-rock stuff that DR usually covers. But I've chosen to review his new EP "Resonant Tense" anyway, because it does, on occasion, bring to mind an instrumental and slightly more ambient version of Minus The Bear.

The band description states that "Mender writes subtle, electronic, chiller pop tunes with an emphasis on acoustic instruments" and that this is achieved through "various electronically manipulated acoustic articles". "Resonant Tense" even has a warning attached to it on its Bandcamp page, which claims that listening to the EP without a proper subwoofer isn't going to do the record justice.

These are all true statements. This is a heavily beat-driven album, where the bass beats blast out of the headphones, vibrating your very essence just like if you went to a dubstep show. It's also very minimalistic. The focus lies on trip hop-like ambience and moods, with the occasional sexy R'n'B-esque beat driving home the Minus The Bear reference I was talking about earlier. It's also wholly instrumental, which in this case is to its detriment. There are plenty of all instrumental bands like Pelican and Don Caballero where the vocals would simply ruin the experience. Mender's work, however, isn't detailed or interesting enough to do so, and the feeling is often contrary: smooth-sailing, soulful vocals would add a massive boost to these songs. As it stands now, at least two of the songs feel like hotel lobby music. It has its own audience and purpose, but it sure isn't very interesting for a casual, or even an active listen.


Download: Retrotoric
For the fans of: instrumental Minus The Bear
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 17.07.2011
Deadpop Records

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