10 for 2012: #4 – Worship

By on Wednesday, 7th December 2011 at 11:00 am

In the last couple weeks, we asked you to vote for the top 10 artists you thought would be big in 2012. We’re now on #4 on the list, and things are about to turn dark…

I’ve discussed before the concept of terroir: the concept that the region from which a musician springs has an unavoidable influence on their style. With that concept in mind, try to imagine what a band from Reading – the city which co-hosts hosts the most popular and longstanding mainstream rock festival this country has to offer, and not a part of London but within its cultural gravitational pull – would sound like.

There’s a reasonable chance you’d come up with a sound not dissimilar to that which Worship purvey – definitely a rock band, but primarily orchestrated by electronic instruments, calmly, icily, pumping away. There’s no conventional rock histrionics here, no-one loses their temper or shreds a window-shattering guitar solo, but there is an underlying tone of unsettled menace which gives the music its power. As with a lot of new acts, it’s unavoidably tempting to pick out the separate strands of influence: bits of Thom Yorke’s solo work in the sparse, soaring vocal over not-quite-electronica beats (‘Collateral’ [watch the video below] even references “rabbit in the headlights”, maybe an oblique reference to Thom’s seminal collaboration with DJ Shadow, ostensibly the start of his romance with electronica?); the reliance on swathes of sounds rather than traditional guitar tones is how Keane (remember them?) approached things; and an almost Balearically relaxed approach to song structure.


At times the arrangements can seem rather pleased with themselves: ‘Distant Sirens’ finds it appropriate to spend half a minute repeating a simple piano riff just where the chorus should be. Indeed, choruses are conspicuous by their absence. Not a band for those who like 2-minute powerhouses of songs, these guys take their time, strolling through their themes, ensuring nothing is left underdeveloped. Recent single release ‘House of Glass’ (review here) is a dark, polished, limpid piece, a brilliant example of musical onomatopoeia. It’s still early days in the band’s career – they’re quite candid that they are just starting work on writing their first album, so we don’t know how their material will develop into a long-player. There’s plenty of stuff on their Soundcloud, and those who would rather sway rather than mosh at rock gigs should give it a careful listen. They’re tailor made for a late-afternoon Reading slot. And they won’t have far to travel home.

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