Lahars - EP

Owain Paciuszko 04/07/2010

Rating: 3/5

Debut EP from solo artist Simon Thomas who nestles under the pseudonymn of Lahars, formerly of North London band Score One For Safety, Thomas now plies his trade in creating atmospheric and expanding soundscapes armed with guitars, an ebow, his voice and lots of loop pedals. Opening track Raingiver sets the scene, starting at a gentle pattering whimper and growing and growing a la Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Clint Mansell et al into something both cinematic and desolate.

It sustains itself nicely across its running time, new elements seeping out of the cracks carefully enough to keep your ear keen, but, there's something a little familiar about everything, probably not helped by a boom in lone loop pedal troubadours creating similarly inspired noise collages, and, heck, other outfits have more than one member so can keep their aural environments with greater speed and texture than one man constantly having to layer and layer. This may be a primarily live concern, but on A Complete History you can envisage the moments when Thomas is tapping the pedal to start the first loop and such like, whereas on record his sound should be unlimited. Perhaps a tad harsh, but, this EP seems more like a small document to pick up if you enjoyed his set in order to remind you of his existence whilst you await his next, more rounded, move.

Meanwhile Forestfeeder sounds like the finale to a lost 1980's fantasy adventure, all ominous grumbling, eerie chorals and impending doom. Unfortunately it doesn't progress much beyond there, and becomes a bit like a DVD menu that's been left to repeat for far too long until it finally ambles towards a fade out. Final track Voices begins like more of the same, with the titular vocals replacing the previous tracks guitar, and though there's more of an evolution of sound tucked up within these seven and a half minutes it lacks the tiny spark that the first two tracks had, and ends the record on a lazy slump.

The music on this EP is pretty interesting listening, but it never really takes flight beyond an initial idea and as a result feels like a tentative first step rather than a confident arrival.