I originally heard about Down I Go through a facebook post by ex-Reuben vocalist (and solo musician) Jamie Lenman, announcing that he would be featuring as a vocal guest on their new album. The video showed him screaming his lungs out in the studio, which was enough to get me interested, but what really sealed the deal was the sheer amount of extra instrumentation on display. Saxes, trumpets, trombone and even bass clarinet, as well as more traditional chromatic riffing, all had me intrigued. And boy was I right to be excited.
Down I Go has more musically in common with Reuben than just the presence of Mr Lenman. The great accomplishment of Reuben was their songwriting ability to switch fluidly and effortlessly between screamed vocals and heavily distorted guitars to tender melodic passages.
Enter Down I Go – after the sinister, creaking and weirdly catchy organ intro ‘Mother in the Pen’, ‘The Serpent of Lagarfljot’s vocals rip through the atmosphere, following the staccato off-kilter blasts of guitar. So much, so well-crafted alt rock – just as you think you have a handle on them, the horn section enters, punctuating the a-rhythmic riffing.
The arrangement on this album is very strong, and every listen brings out new details – some particular strong notes are ‘Strike It While It’s Still On My Nose’, a slow builder that begins in an ear-wormy, quiet melodic duet before picking up into a belter of a track, and ‘Drangey Consecrated’, a bass tour-de-force that suddenly switches tonality and opens up into a major key before descending back into chaos.
There is not a single lazy track; each is a distinct and unique use of Down I Go’s toolkit, but the common musical components – heavy mathy riffing intercut with layered melodic vocals and horn sections – keep the record cohesive. A must-listen if you’re into the heavier side of alternative rock, get it now on Holy Roar Records.
hardcore, distortion, math rock, alt-rock, odd rhythms, distortion, multi-instrumental
Sounds A Tad Like
Jamie Lenman, The Armed, Pariso
Outlaw, The Hired Hand, Of Marbendill
£7 for the download, vinyl for £13 on (Bandcamp)