Sub-Division - The Primos EP Review
by Travis Becker
Beauty can consist of almost anything. From the sun peaking out from behind a light morning haze to a masterpiece painting crafted by a creative mind at its peak. When it comes to music, beauty is as much a feeling as anything and rests almost solely within the minds of those who experience it. SUB-DIVISON makes very beautiful music, at once pleasing and compelling, nostalgic and unknown. The band mines the blasted out strips left by bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain and Medicine, but digs even deeper to lodes thought to be out of reach to mortal hands. SUB-DIVISON comes laden with gold by the armload up the mineshaft, drenched in fuzz, white noise, and enough beautiful music to retire comfortably, let's just hope they don't.
On the Primos EP, SUB-DIVISON gives the music-listening public a taste of what they have to offer in the form of three songs, three remixes, some videos and even samples from all of the albums elements, I suppose for aspiring DJ's and assorted music-makers out there. The opening track, "Express" feels immediately like the Jesus and Mary Chain in their noise-drenched prime, but without exuding the obvious hookiness that band could muster. The hooks and catchy pop sensibilities are there, they're just buried down deeper.
The smooth vocal harmonies of the Reid brothers are obliterated by a meteor shower of hard beats and the primitive, enunciated, droning that replaces them absolutely wallows in a tar pit of echo. The "Dream-Pop" of Medicine springs to mind as well with the vocals of Amira Baltezar adding warmth to the sound that belies the industrial overtones that feature so heavily in the mix. Nothing sterile in this music stays sterile for very long.
The music is calculated and the beats are precise, but there's enough dirty rock and roll seeping in all around the edges to keep this EP suspended far above the abyss of Electronica or Trip Hop.
The Primos EP is no masterpiece, but it sounds like one at times. There just isn't enough there to judge by yet. At three songs (even though the remixes are almost unrecognizable compared to the original mixes) the EP weighs in just a little light. The bass and drums form a solid frame, an easel to hold the whole thing up and a mold over which a vast canvas is stretched. Bits of that canvas still show through, the overall sound is spacious and uncluttered, avoiding a common pitfall for noise and avant-garde music. The under saturated water color guitars and washed out riffs bleed out all over the songs and the stabbing, pointillist vocals punctuate what feels minimalist and sparse at times, with exclamation points and question marks. Full judgment should be reserved for when a full length finds its way to our ears, but regardless, this is a great EP. It clings like a fog beading up on your windshield, and it just wouldn't feel right to cut the wipers on and eradicate the beautiful pattern taking shape in the droplets.
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