The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood (Stereogram)
Edinburgh’s Stereogram Recordings seem to have the uncanny knack of finding bands that I know nothing about yet find very much to my taste. I’m not quite sure how they do it but, to be honest, I’m starting to suspect there’s some form of dark musical sorcery going on here.
Anyhow, putting aside that slightly worrying thought, The Eastern Swell are the latest addition to the Stereogram roster and their debut LP ‘One Day, A Flood’ was released a couple of weeks back.
It’s a record that draws on various genres of which I profess ignorance but I’m definitely getting something quite seventies off certain elements and whilst there’s also a more pastoral element to a number of the tunes
The fact that there are male and female vocalists helps expand the band’s range, but ultimately it’s a record that thrives on the tension generated by two extremes. On one hand there’s a heavier, guitar driven side to the band but there’s also unquestionably a softer side to the Eastern Swell
For the former the album’s arrival is heralded by the memorable riff of ‘Rattling Bones’ and there’s plenty of inspired fretwork throughout even if garage rocker ‘Dancing Zombie Blue’ is the one out and out up tempo number. Having said that, despite a slower cadence, ‘Quick As A Whip’ matches it for sheer rock attitude with its feedback and guitar solos .
At the other end of the spectrum, the band are capable of quieter, introspective songs such as ‘Temples’ which has an almost folky feel.
However, the album’s best moments come when the two extremes are meshed together such as on the aforementioned ‘Rattling Bones’ and on the bluesy ‘What’s Done Is Done’. The killer track though is probably the closing song ‘Run Down Country Palace’ which boasts both the album’s best melody and a rather ferocious guitar coda.
Stereogram are undoubtedly a label with superlative taste and whilst the Eastern Swell sit nicely in the broad range of Stereogram bands they have also managed to carve their own distinctive niche.
Check it out.