Eighties inspired post punk is seemingly on a surge right now, its seeds being blossomed into varied but distinctive incitements of sound and imagination echoing the genre’s origins. One such band making one of the most compelling persuasions is Irish band Slow Riot, a trio from Limerick who recently released an irresistible dark beauty in the shape of the Cathedral EP. The four track release is an evocation of shadows and solemn emotions cast in a creative calling on the imagination, but one equally bred with epic overtones and an emotive intimacy reflective of something found within its title’s landscape.
Formed in 2013, the threesome of vocalist/bassist Niall Clancy, drummer Paul Cosgrave, and guitarist Aaron Duff recorded Cathedral with producer Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies, The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The La’s, Biffy Clyro) at the Manic Street Preachers’ Faster studio in Cardiff; additional assistance coming from in-house engineer Loz Williams and the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield through the offering of use of equipment and instruments. From the off the release stirs the senses and imagination but equally the physical body is also gripped by the forcibly rousing prowess and thick insistence of sound.
The EP opens with the band’s new single Demons, the lone beats of Cosgrave luring in attention and appetite with an anthemic coaxing. The melancholic charm of Duff’s guitar is soon involving an emotive melody too, it laying evocatively over the persistent arousal of rhythms now also equipped with the solemn resonance of Clancy’s bass. His dour yet alluring vocals are close behind as the song brews more of a Joy Division meets Interpol like croon for a formidable captivation only enhanced by a more fiery nature emerging in the guitar and a flowing crystalline elegance spread by keys. Each element evolves new hues to the slim but varied layers as the track continues, it all building up into a strongly potent beginning to Cathedral.
It is a start for personal tastes quickly eclipsed by the next pair of songs though, City Of Culture the first up. A great scuzzy mix of guitar and bass aligned to boisterous beats sets song and ears off in eager union, a sparkling melody soon adding to the enticement as Clancy’s vocals’ twist around on the riveting web spun by all the already contagious elements. There is a touch of The Sound to the song but more so bands like Scars and Crispy Ambulance with the discordant clang of The Fire Engines in there for good measure. Ultimately though, these are spices only bolstering a virulent tempting unique to Slow Riot.
Just as stunning is the following Adele, a transfixing slice of dark balladry becoming increasingly infectious and addictive as sonic seduction merges with repetitious mastery around the thick potency of the vocals. A revolving incitement set somewhere between My Bloody Valentine, The Slow Readers Club, and Artery, the glorious track reveals not only more of the craft in songwriting and delivery of the band but also the depth of their sound’s imagination and diversity.
Cooper’s Dream brews a character more similar to the Joy Division-esque embrace of Demons, but again outshines the excellent start to the EP with its individual weave of sonic expression, haunting lingering hooks, and a just as enjoyably galvanic rhythmic recruitment of eager involvement. As the EP, the track worms under the skin, infects the psych leaving ingrained lures and rapture in its wake to ensure a perpetual return to its nest of climatic builds and roaring crescendos bound in melancholy entwined restraints is always a lively intent.
The track provides a superb end to a superb release, a full introduction to Slow Riot sowing the seeds to thick anticipation of their next move and lusty enjoyment in their first.
The Cathedral EP is out now via Straight Lines Are Fine @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cathedral-ep/id1007359990
Pete RingMaster 25/11/2015
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