So, who are SOMETHING ILLUSTRATED? Well, they’re a five-piece, Edinburgh based band who formed late in 2010 and have been playing ‘live’ since the start of this year.
Yeah – but WHO are they?
You know, I’m not so sure that even they know the answer to that one?
See, their self-penned bio that accompanies this five-track EP proudly boasts that the lads have been playing in various different bands for many years and that their aim is to:
‘…combine the musical technicality of genres such as Metal, Prog and Jazz with catchy melodies and lyrical themes more commonly associated with pop and pop/rock.’
Add to that, the ‘influences of dance music’ that have been weaved into the fourth track ‘Our Song.’
And further confusing the whole issue of ‘who are they?’ is the artwork that creates the important first impression to any prospective listener. I can maybe understand the reasoning, but I have to say I was expecting the music wrapped in such cover to be on the twee or loved-up nature.
OK, I’m glad it isn’t – well, apart from the final song. Why this one was nominated as the title track I just don’t know. It’s without doubt the worst of those on offer, and let’s be honest here, the vocals are not that strong are they? Not for his kind of song, any road.
The previous track is the ‘dance music’ influenced ‘Our Song.’ Sorry, but I’m not really getting the ‘dance’ bit, but after the quieter intro and conveniently ignoring the slightly shaky higher-range vocals, this is actually a pretty decent song.
But let’s go back to the start: ‘Shipping Forecast’ is far better suited to the vocals. The song itself rocks along nicely and the whole package just seems to fit a whole lot better. Chugging guitar riffs are overlaid with zippy lines and rolling, off kilter drums. It’s a decent opener and certainly encourages the listener trough to track two.
Which is ‘Sky.’ A rather downbeat piano is joined by hushed vocals at he outset. Again, the higher notes seem to create a little problem, but it’s OK. The song does tend to plod along a bit and at over five and a half minutes, it perhaps tests the patience of the listener.
But … to the rescue! The middle track, ‘Head. Heart. Hands.’ is where this band is at! This is one of those songs that will last the lifetime of the band; one they will (or should) be playing at every gig until whenever.
Me being an old punk with very simple and basic tastes in music, this type of ‘progressive’ stuff is not normally what I’d listen to, but ‘Head. Heart. Hands.’ is indeed a good ‘un. Its seven and a half minutes are packed with time changes, mood changes, searing guitars, jazzy interludes and an altogether ‘epic’ feel. Yeah – more of this will do!
Considering this is the band’s first recorded output, I suppose I shouldn’t be so down on it. But it’s just a case of finding the right formula and sticking to it. Right now I don’t hear anything spectacular …. but there’s certainly plenty of potential.
(Released through Rumney Records and available as a free download from www.somethingillustrated.bandcamp.com )