Asleep Beneath Volcanoes - Asleep Beneath Volcanoes
Owain Paciuszko 13/12/2008
Proggish electronica with the kind of live instrumentation sound of Death In Vegas and a boatload of ideas that keep their lengthy tracks evolving, changing and brimming with life. Opener 'Water' is a growling, scuzzy number that throws in arch plinks and plonks over its fuzz-laden guitar, before a distant Beta Band-esque vocal starts chanting. It's a confident start to this four track EP that clocks in at just under half an hour (longer than many albums this year!), and this opening is a great relief compared to other 'dance' albums that just go nowhere, repeatting one idea ad nauseum.
'Great Architect of Nature' enters with what sounds like the arrival of a 1950s B-Movie UFO before relieving its laidback charms, an echoing piano line drifting over pulsating synths in a fashion reminiscent of one of Orbital's 'chill-out' tracks. 'Suspension of Logic' opens with a vocal loop that betrays the band's Northwestern, UK roots, and rattles around like the Stereo MCs over a drum-beat and synth-line that promise an absolute cacophony of noise in the manner of Propellerheads but, unfortunately, the track doesn't deliver on this; much like Fuck Buttons the track seems to keep nudging you closer towards the edge, but never pushes you over, and it's frustrating as a result.
Closing with 'Holiday' a track that at first sounds like a static heavy remix of 'Burn' by The Cure before transforming into a distorted Commodore 64 horror movie soundtrack over which vocals call out despondently; 'Holiday, holiday, wait, wait, don't stay around...' It again promises a grander finale than you receive, even re-using samples from earlier in the EP but in a fashion that is more tired than inspired. It's a dissapointing finish to a record that started so strong, ultimately falling into the same potholes as many other dance artists. But, this is still an intriguing EP and one that suggests Asleep Beneath Volcanoes as an interesting group to keep tuned into it.