raison d’être and this thing is flooded with it.
With everything kept in-house, right down to the production and
mixing duties (handled by Harris), the overall tone is immediately
familiar. ISIS’ burnt-out, skidding instrumentals meet Chino’s gorgeous
croon head on and the end result, although being way more lush than
expected, is littered with moments that remove your capacity for
resisting emotion and motion – your heads will nod, your hair will stand
on end and your spine will shiver.
Doing justice to the impact that “Future Warrior” has made on this
reviewer is a tough ask. With its cogently circular verse, bridge and
chorus, it is a creation that is about as tangibly close to being
populist as these artists would ever dare travel, and yet it resists any
of the finer trappings of the mainstream by remaining beyond the reach
of those fashionistas with their prerequisite short-attention spans. God
forbid they ever release a radio edit though – it could make and break
them all at once. Chino’s vast vocal range, from deep, softly-whispered
croaks to piercing, divergent, anguished howls, beautifully complements
the warm, haunting tones and creamy textures of the strings and keys,
lifting them from the warm, crystal-clear waters of their birthplace to
the heavenly skies above.
The difference between the similarly luscious, soft-hearted tracks
“Shortwave Radio” and “Tropics” and the rougher, electro edges of
“Mission Sunset” is marked. The latter, dark of purpose, burns with a
slowly-released reserve of buzzing energy and clanging melancholy. The
first signs of imperfection crop up here as the vocal and backing do jar
a little in places, almost like two pieces from different puzzles,
wedged together. “Antarctic Handshake” isn’t faultless either and
although it truly is suitably spartan and determinedly steady of pace,
the tone remains unnvervingly warm as pastel vocals are brushed back and
forth across a gentile, yet vibrant backdrop. At nigh on 10 minutes, it
is mostly just filler, spending much of its running time warbling
within its watery repose, rebounding back off its own walls and doesn’t
age at all well.
It would be harsh to expect this debut release to be wholly organic,
but it is an interesting novelty to discover the oddly digital, viscous
quality that lurks within. As much as you loved Deftones gritty,
subversive edge or ISIS’ heaviosity, this ambient-minded collective are,
as Chino suggests on “Shortwave Radio”, just as capable of offering you
both polar extremes – “Ascending you to Heaven whilst staring into Hell
/ You’re staring into Heaven, descending into Hell”.