Released 13th May 2016
Vienna Ditto, the best Tarantino-esque duo to have never soundtracked a Tarantino film, have followed up their 2015 album Circle with the EP Ticks, with whose generous seven-track length they are really spoiling us.
This collection is as eclectic as Circle was a neat, coherent summing up of the voodoo sci-fi blues they peddle. The EP’s title track is a menacing rockabilly tale of identity theft; Tiny Tambourines wouldn’t sound out of place amongst Depeche Mode’s early 2000s glitchy blues electronica; and Frank Account is a slinky dollop of sinister Andrews Sisters harmonies.
They cover two Negro spirituals – Motherless Child and Go Down Moses; while their rendering of the former is beautifully restrained, its melancholic marriage of voice and twangy guitar more reflecting the isolating misery whence this song came than the comforting togetherness its performance was intended to achieve, the latter becomes a Chelsea Dagger-style romp – yet they make both sound as if they’re original compositions.
The gems here are the gloriously unsettling My Way of Missing You, a Sergio Leone-homaging and apparently Adam Curtis-inspired triphoppy triumph, and Come Back, a frenetic rock n’ roll drum machine anti-love song, whose cosmic synth wig-out outtro signs off this genre-melding audio embodiment of unease and impudence perfectly.
From Nightshift, May 2016
BBC Introducing in Oxford’s Band of the Year 2013, Wild Swim, are calling it a day – which is a huge shame. The biggest tragedy is that they weren’t more prolific, considering the multi-influenced, genre-melding and flamboyant promise of their early singles Echo and Another Night. Their farewell EP, Untitled, may be more measured and less histrionic or arty than their earlier stuff, but it’s the perfect showcase for – and testament to – their intricate, exotically textured and unnerving folky indie hip-hoppy electronica.
On Hollow, floaty orchestral atmospherics and singer Richard Samson’s almost whispered, seemingly distracted refrain of “Tonight we fall in love again” are underpinned by a contrasting, relentlessly arpeggiating math-rocky guitar, creating a creepy, unsettling track that gets under your skin – like a manipulative Air.
My Love and Too Late take trip-hop to the more menacing Massive Attack and Tricky end of the scale, with laid-back beats and plaintive vocals layering over beautiful reverbed guitar and piano chords.
The stand-out track, however, is the almost anthemic Cut Me Out, on which the light Burundi Beat drums of the early 80s flit back and forth with the crunchy electro guitars and careworn sonority of Dave Gahan’s voice of recent-period Depeche Mode.
We can only hope that the quintet responsible for all of this greatness stay making music; a legacy like this is far too good to not build upon.
From Nightshift, March 2016