If these winter months have left you looking for something understatedly epic yet determinedly motivational, you can do a lot worse than hunger for The Early Years, as proven in the newest slab of circular plastic dubbed ‘All Ones And Zeroes’. As far as singles goes, it’s refreshingly ambitious without striving in vain for euphoria or succumbing to vacuous pomp. And, if you’ll excuse a moment of muted celebration on my part, hur-bloody-rah for that.
Sure, the lead track on this EP is pretty ace, with all its cute shoegazing references and pop-infested Mogwai-isms and a loveable willingness to ditch the notion that verse-chorus-verse is the only way to seep into the listener’s consciousness. But whilst the track is the shortest here (and presumably the one geared towards radio rotation) it does the least to grab the listener by whatever part of their anatomy is most extrusive at the time – a testament to how wondrously captivating this lot can be when they sprawl themselves out a bit and let songs ramble in and out of their own accord.
Yes, it’s the B-sides that invoke the most pleasure here, resonating as they do in a hinterland between Sigur Ros at their most ambient and every post-rock group you’ve heard over the past decade at their most climactic. ‘A Little More’ is six minutes of fuzzy bliss, all glacial guitar chimes and hushed lamenting that creates an atmosphere so rich and inviting you’d want to fill your sandwiches with it. ‘I Heard Voices’, meanwhile, goes from slow-burning electronics and backward vocals to pile-driving guitar chord sequences and, even though it takes about twelve minutes getting there, still somehow maintains a sense of luscious, enchanting beguilement. With this evidence, let’s hope that The Early Years don’t endeavour to become more succinct.
8Thomas Blatchford's Score