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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 122 - 09/07/06

Slow Attack EP
Hidden Shoal Recordings

In this age of digital downloads and minimal attention spans, I would like to propose the EP as the ideal format for the consumption of music. They're only 15-30 minutes in length, each song is likely to be good as there are only four or five of them, and the EP can prove an ideal introduction to a particular band's music if you're thinking of splashing out on the album. Or downloading it...

Anyway, here are two perfect EPs. The first, from Western Australia's Glassacre, is all shimmer and surge, as reflected in the EP's gorgeous cover of the ocean at night. Glassacre are Cam Merton and Chris Mason, and these two talented gents layer electronic loops, synth washes and chiming guitars to create an immersive soundworld within which the understated vocals communicate their truth subtly. Slow Attack is the perfect title; the power of this music will creep up on you gradually, and before you know it the damn thing is on repeat play.

Opening track "Always Further Away" is probably the most buoyant tune, reminiscent of Electronic, with a great guitar solo drifting into the mix. "Swimming in Greece" reminds me of the best bits of Massive Attack, with droning guitars, dubby bass, and Eastern-sounding beats. "Asleep in the Lake" continues the aquatic theme, featuring blissful ambient washes and the shimmer of tremoloed guitar.

The masterstroke, however, comes with "Tension Agreement", built around a nagging, spindly loop of what sounds like an electronic harpsichord. The beat kicks off, with bass, organ, acoustic guitar and vocals following closely behind. The tune sways beautifully, yet it's difficult to put my finger on exactly what it is that I love about it so much. So simple, so effective. So addictive. This is the track that's really stuck in my head. The EP is rounded off by the downbeat, droning 'Take Away the Smiles', swathed in vinyl crackle and driven by a skanky beat.

This description doesn't do justice to the wonderful way that Glassacre combine electronics, live instruments and glorious songcraft. Just download the music for yourself at the Hidden Shoal website, and I can guarantee you'll be enchanted.

flag US - New York - Full Moon 122 - 09/07/06
coverpic Monocle
Lounge Act EP

Brooklyn's Monocle have created an equally excellent EP in Lounge Act, featuring a breezy, jazz-pop sound reminscent of Stereolab and The Sea and Cake.

"Secret Handshake" takes this breezy sound in the verses, and then overwhelms it with shoegazey guitar in the chorus, with Lucy Roche's sweet vocals just about shining their way through the mix. The title track has a more even keel, with the payoff coming from lovely melodic flourishes on guitar (Matt Filler and Rich Bennett) and synth (Rich Bennett). "Car Ride", the lightest cut here, manages to remain the right side of twee by virtue of the excellent guitar, synth and bass (Billy Likitsakos) lines, carried along by crisp drumming (Brian Czach). Final track "Hawaii", a heavenly instrumental, ends the EP on a real high note, with a sound reminscent of The Flaming Lips' masterpiece "Sleeping on the Roof". Delayed guitars, spacey synth, luscious bass and an insistent ride cymbal - and is that marimba chiming through? - all add up to a blissful trip through the clouds.

I can recommend both these EPs very highly, and I look forward to hearing full-length releases from Glassacre and Monocle. Bands to watch.

Copyright © 2006 Tim Clarke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Monocle articles/reviews: Chances Glide, Outer Sunset.

© 2011 Luna Kafé