Album Review: Escapists – Burial EP

By on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

There have always been echoes of Bon Iver and the Temper Trap about this group, but – for better or for worse – ‘Burial’ sees a calibration of influences on this alt-indie four-piece. Having released their first single ‘Post Gospel Blues’ back in 2011, Escapists have honed the gothic concept on their debut EP following months of touring the capital, culminating in lead track ‘Burial’ getting airplay on on Huw Stephens’ Radio1 programme this month.

It pains me to say, but it is evident right from the haunting vocal melodies and Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit’-like drone of opening track ‘Ghost in Your Bedroom’ that since their last offering the guys haven’t got much further than an NVQ in ‘Atmospheric Music 101’. There’s a certain simplicity to the lyrics that allow them to float like a sinister lullaby throughout the verses, before being tied – with vocal melodies that Chris Martin wants back – to the minor key meander of the chorus. The track lifts with a notably organic piece of call and response between the vocals and the cello, but is sadly cut short.

Title track ‘Burial’ (video below) appears to pay homage to alt-indie forefathers Arcade Fire and their seminal album ‘Funeral’, with a marching paradiddle on a reverb soaked snare and guitars that focus more on rhythm than notes. There’s something uplifting about this number: a lyrical suggestion of contentment away from the cruelty of nature and the over arching realisation of time as both creator and destroyer of everything. The drums are the most free reigning instrument and lift this track to a satisfying crescendo that begs for some kind of slow-mo ‘got the girl’ kiss.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2QdyTWCl6k[/youtube]

In ‘Witching Hour’, Escapists explore further how their spiritual wanderings can have tangible relevance to expectations of age and love. The choral line “you’re a ghost in my head now / you’re a spirit I can’t get out” is made old by the classical Spanish guitar trills, while the final track ‘Northern Lights’ sees the band freed from their mechanical structure with a swinging beat and chorus with such a hook that it overshadows the lack of a proper end to this track.

What is unavoidable about ‘Burial’ is that placing too much onus on one concept has left it restricted. While they fit the same mould as many bands who have forged their careers on the festival scene – and could easily sell – without some drive and originality to their instrumentation Escapists tread a path so worn by their predecessors that they risk becoming trapped in a landslide of mediocrity.

6/10

The new EP from Escapists, ‘Burial’, will be released next week (the 28th of May) on Euphonios Records.

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