Monday, 26 May 2008
A ghost in a blizzard
Don’t Get Lost Or Hurt EP
One Inch Badge Records
Tom Denney’s solo project should shortly be finding itself eclipsing the reputation of his parent-band Help She Can’t Swim. Live, with core OIB label-mates on guitar duties, Denney cuts an imposing figure of potent talent, a whirlwind of energy, his onstage manic blur seemingly teetering on the edge of extreme mental and physical exhaustion from the first song. This EP peaks into the same wild eyed hysteria of the live performances, sweat visibly dripping out of scrunched up eyes and snarling mouth, the lively bounce and off-the-wall kinesis convincingly translated onto CD.
Serving as a sweet teaser for the full album due out in August with a few songs previewing the full length, the rest of the eight tracks here are unique to this record. It’s not too much of a stretch to say they are unique full stop. After hearing he was going solo, this is what I’d expected Dev’s Lightspeed Champion to be turning out after Test Icicles imploded. But don’t let that give you the wrong impression. Lonely Ghosts is definitely not Emo like he has a black fringe and dodgy record collection. Certainly, these songs are wrenched out of Tom like his life depended on it, filling a space very much in the realm of the emotional, but closer to the space and pressure of My Bloody Valentine than the specious pressures of My Chemical Romance. The tracks of this EP are neatly built on increasingly intense layers of guitars alternating between poignant torch and blazing dancefloor, backed by a drum machine which evocatively disappears for the melancholic, but for the most part is a blistering pulse, or constantly threatening it. There is nothing overwrought here, just a direct and fully fuelled individual allowing himself to be overcome by a lot of shit. Fortunately for us, his shit is our milk.
Lyrically, Tom casts a bleak eye over the desperation inherent in attaining and maintaining modern beauty in ‘So Young So Beautiful’, weighs up the preferable affects between crippling un-quenched lust and shallowly sated desire in ‘Happy Lovers – Friends Forever’ (I think…it’s either that, or the idea that certain people could be better platonic friends once they’ve had sex, just because it’s something friends can (and should?) do sometimes). Those two are the tunes with the most monster club-centric beats, rhythms cased in dynamic walls of chewy guitars that rip up the speakers with a churning momentum. Songs like 'Plough Through', 'It’s Time To Wake Up' and 'Maybe You Can Save Me' build up into near-tear-jerkers of intensity but start of quietly, delicately, like they are exploring your emotional depths before deciding how far to push you. Me? I’m no easy push-over, but this floored me.