To say that the debut EP from Belfast based band Pixel Vs Nanobot is impressive is one of the bigger understatements of the year; it’s vibrant, expressive and essential sounds making one of the strongest debuts from any band in a long time. The three track self titled EP is a fresh hypnotic little beauty that fuses flowing emotive electronic sounds with an attitude soaked feral punk urgency, the trio of songs snapping at the senses whilst caressing the ear.
The threesome of Shauna Donaghy (vocals, synth), Cahir Doherty (bass, vocals), and Oran Heron (drums, vocals), in their short time as a band has already mesmerised Northern Ireland, fans and the media with their dramatic and exciting live performances. The band impress every time they take to the stage garnering praise and eager attention and from the very beginning they wowed people, for example their sound making such a mark on the organisers of the Belfast Calling’s New Blood 2011 showcase that they asked the band to play twice, covering both Spring & Airbrake and the Limelight in one day, as well as having them headline the following New Blood showcase. This is the effect the band’s great sounds and ability has and with the release of the new EP they are set to reach far beyond their own surroundings.
The growing attention and acclaim for the band also led to interest from producer Rocky O’Reilly (Oppenheimer, In Case of Fire, And So I Watch You From Afar) who offered the band a recording at his Start Together Studio in Belfast, the result the stunning Pixel Vs Nanobot EP. The first notable and captivating thing about the band’s music is the clever and well throughout blend of soaring synth led electronic weaves that wrap themselves around the ear which Donaghy conjures up and the thumping incessant dirty punk sounds generated and thrust forth by Heron’s commanding and energetic beats alongside the belligerent menacing basslines from Doherty. This is a combination that not all can pull off to give every aspect of the music strong clarity and the space to spread their creative fingers as here. Mesmeric though it is the addition of the amazing vocals of Donaghy completes and takes the music on to further irresistible and deeply impressive levels. Her voice has the firmness to demand attention whilst taking the songs to glorious heights giving wonderfully emotive sensations.
The release starts with ‘Shadows’ and from its first note the EP is one exhilarating ride. The track starts with a synth that reminded of very early Stranglers and when the deep grouchy bass comes in that feeling is even stronger. The synths soon expand and swell into wider graceful atmospheres whilst still switching back and forth to keep the song enjoyably unpredictable. ‘This Is My’ takes over with an electronic flow that reaches out to find and fill every corner of the senses. A slower pace and expressive song that slowly builds to the ignition of an anthemic chorus led by Doherty’s quickening prowling riff. From the atmospheric start to the big ending the song is a heady mix of Letters and My Preserver.
‘In The Pink’ completes the release with equal satisfaction and dynamic creativity. The most urgent of the songs it pulsates within the ear as it runs at pace and deliberate intent into the senses to light up and excite the heart. The synths offer an early Mute sound with a touch of OMD against the punk spices of original Blondie and Siouxsie and The Banshees attitude, wonderful stuff.
There are really no negatives that can be offered about Pixel Vs Nanobot’s EP. Perfection is an impossible state but the trio has come as close as anyone to find it musically. The EP is just a thorough joy and pleasure with the heart pleasing melodies and electronic sound tapestries alongside the stirring punk attitude and aggression offering something for all. 2012 had better watch out here comes Pixel Vs Nanobot.
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