A sound engineer once told me that he felt the best EPs he’d ever recorded were the ones that “less resembled an album so much as a short, sharp live set”. Given that, perhaps Memory of Elephants’ new 4-track Faux Carrion is everything it should be: a statement of intent that grabs your attention and leaves you wanting to hear more. And what’s more, a combination of the production, the songs’ unexpected detours and the shouted gang vocals that punctuate their biggest moments lend Faux Carrion a certain joyous vitality that is rarely captured on record. It’s as if the listener is hearing the band gleefully nail these tracks for the first time with each spin.
However, this is also the sound of a band still clearly finding its feet. In a live setting, this is often flagged by a band throwing a cover, which is exactly what happens here on record. Although, you could certainly do worse than an almightily crushing mash-up of Mogwai and The Chariot.
The influence of these two should come as no surprise, as the band’s own material is at once both hypnotic and brutally visceral. And it’s their appreciation of both swirling, almost psychedelic, grooves combined with angular blasts could yet set them apart from the current UK math rock pack. The band eschew the now familiar ‘mathier than thou’ approach of jagged complication for complication’s sake that can often be the pitfall of other riff-heavy instrumentalists, and instead manage to build their varied influences into a relatively coherent raucousness. Take for example ‘Who the Fuck is Runcorn?’, the arguable highlight here, which builds from driving stoner rock through to punk rock breakdown and then blissed out reverb-laden shoegaze – all within its first 2 minutes – without sounding in the least bit contrived.
If they can manage to sustain this particular knack along with their palpable energy, they may yet find themselves pushing their way to the front of the crowd.
Math rock, RIFFS, wig-outs
Sounds A Tad Like
That Fucking Tank, Body Hound, a party in a practice room