A Life in Bandages - Final Act of Treachery

Tim Miller 24/08/2006

Rating: 3/5

The written eloquence of this demo's artwork and accompanying media is rich with the measured pretentiousness that, handled properly, often means an aesthetically interesting and challenging but well-crafted example of songwriting. A Life In Bandages are certainly different, and are well on the way to ploughing a unique furrow through the smothering layer of average new bands.

First song Final Act Of Treachery kicks in with a siren-like synth, giving way to a relentlessly uneasy sound: gritty guitar riffs, backed by dirty bass and frenetic drumming. The bridge leading into the chorus is rather bland, but the chorus, once it arrives with its sweet two-chord interchange and addictive guitar line, is utterly memorable. The song breaks down at the four minute mark, vocalist Sam yelling in a state of near-hysteria; “I don't hear the fat lady singing!”

Skeleton Mare sees more of the same dissonant, dirty bass and guitars arrangement, flowing slightly more easily than track one. Electronic whistling sounds embellish the chorus, which has instant appeal, Sam and Jimmy sharing the lyrics, “You tell me if the war is over”. Passing five minutes, however, slightly pushes the boat out: a much tighter recording of this song would do it a world of good.

Extra song Electrocution, written in permanent marker on the CD, extends the uncomfortable mood as it opens with an incomprehensible sample clambering over low-end bass sounds. Threatening, slightly manic vocals - “What fresh lunacy is this?” - resonate over bass guitar and reverb-drenched guitar. Not as appealing as its predecessors, however, Electrocution doesn't quite grab you hard enough and somewhat stumbles as an ending to this demo.

This should not take anything away from the overall style and sound here though. A dark, groovy take on the current indie sound, referencing acts such as Millionaire and contemporary upstarts This Et Al, this demo is brimming with potential, and you'd need cloth ears to fail to realise A Life In Bandages could well be going places.