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  • Melanie Henderson

EPs selection box: guitars, synths and demons

Three radically diverse EPs recently landed in the WildSide inbox – think everything from lush synths to heavy duty guitars to hell-raising demons.

Here’s the whole selection…

Pylon Poets – Lucid Hallucinations

From the land of sandy beaches, family attractions and genteel Victorian vistas comes stylish indie-rock that’s a real rush of fresh air. Torquay trio Pylon Poets make a sound that’s all lovely fluid lines and artful shades and shapes. Taking in subject matter ranging from dream states to politics to mental health, this is a synth-layered vision that will nonetheless appeal to those of a rock n’ roll persuasion: the four tracks that comprise Lucid Hallucinations respectfully dismantle generic walls and focus instead on cool innovation.

First up is Reverie, an ambitious affair that showcases guitars and synths in well-balanced measures. Dan Hughes’ vocals are liquid-pure, carrying the slightly prog-ish proceedings along on clean waves of melody. Think tones of Bloc Party, Maximo Park and Editors with a colour wash of Yes. Then, on Abandon, you might just catch the slightest tinges of a well-behaved Idlewild – this one would no doubt be right at home in a festival tent.

By the time you get to Breathe, a slow and mesmerising number that really should have a sophisticated light show to set off its pensive tones, it’s clear that this is a grown-up, well-rounded sound that’s founded on serious thinking. Throughout, backing vocals from drummer Sam McIver and bassist Nathan Hughes add rich pigmentation. Final track Rise and Call – the latest single to be released from the EP – is both bold and radio-friendly displaying a penchant for experimentation and a sensible head for the commercial sphere.

Having already supported the likes of Gun, Reef and Scouting for Girls, these lads are no strangers to the live circuit and you can just imagine their atmospheric sound compelling bodies away from the bar. But it’s also the kind of thing that just sounds great on a quality pair of headphones. Lucid hallucinations of the most vibrant, creative sort.

Lucid Hallucinations is out on December 18 on all major streaming platforms. More information here.

Blind Perception – Industrial Raunch

If ever a title summed up the contents, it’s this one. Southern Indiana’s Blind Perception certainly do what they promise on the tin. Although, you suspect this heavyweight four-piece wouldn’t possess anything as flimsy as a tin: perhaps a great big galvanised chest complete with rivets and chains, inside which you’ll find the noisiest, most colossal power tools you’ve ever laid eyes on. Yes, it’s industrial strength stuff. And it’s definitely got raunch. Hell, yeah.

It doesn’t take more than a chord of opener Save Me to realise that this is not the sun-drenched version of Southern hard rock: this is about grit and petrol fumes and billowing black smoke. It’s the sound of an eighteen-wheeler hitting the highway like it means business – and pity help those anywhere near the asphalt.

There’s always something primal about bands with drummers who double on lead vocal duties and these guys are no exception. Tommy Tea’s gravelly larynx revs up to maximum growl factor in no time, only giving way for blistering rebukes from Brent Hodges’ guitar. In terms of guts, we’re talking the reddest, rawest kind.

This is a multi-dimensional six-track, though: Too Drunk has the feel of bar room boogie with a sceptical snarl while Backwoods Shine is a sturdy pain-meets-pleasure brew; A Captain Goes Down with his Ship is the darkest kind of campfire storytelling with a stout backbeat and a rousing chorus. But it’s when the Stooges-like More and More gets you in its vice-like grip that you feel the band’s full pulverising force: the hook is simple, gigantic and hypnotic. The other standout is the juggernaut I Live Alone, which beats you about the head like Stone Temple Pilots’ violent ancestor.

All of which might dictate a long lie down in a darkened room. And which, after exposure to such industrial-strength raunch, is a very good sign indeed.

More info here

Dead Demons – Mortuus Daemonia

With South Yorkshire’s Dead Demons you know exactly what you’re getting: proper metal from a band that’s marinated in all the old school classics. And, well, demons of course.

Said demons – Mark Hale on vocals, Chris Weatherall on guitar, Richard Towler on bass and Terry Emerson on drums – were formed after years on the covers circuit and it’s a legacy that’s clear here: it’s a Maidenesque sound with smatterings of Diamond Head and dashes of Saxon and maybe the odd twist of punk-edged sleaze. Happily, it’s an untampered-with, live-sounding affair that smacks of dark, dingy venues, the distinct pong of sweat and the whiff of spilled beer. And that, especially in these gig-free days, can only ever be a good thing.

Every band with demonic tendencies needs a theme song and Dead Demons doesn’t half show the foursome up as angry, up-for-it and coming at you whether you like it or not. It’s an ear-splitting attack that lays fiendish cards firmly on the table and encourages doubters to stick around for the onslaught. Brace your ears for some full metal screams from Hale. Overload and Dead Man Walking ramp it up further, leaving us in no doubt that these are consummate metallists who’ve studied at the school of real noise.

It’s not all devils and monsters either. With the lyrics, we’re knee-deep in real-world problems: ‘your boss screaming in your ear/some shit you don’t wanna hear.’ Well, it’s the kind of traditional rebel music that might make you think of just shoving that job. Until Monday morning, at least.

Good to know, though, that the Dead Demons have our most metal interests at heart. ‘You need somewhere to bang your head,’ sympathises Hale, ‘We ain’t got long, we’ll all soon be dead.’

Well, quite.

Just as well there are head-banging opportunities aplenty here.

Get the EP here

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