This is a review of "Assumpta Tang" recorded by Esper Scout. The review was written by Sam Coe in 2013.
The latest single from the Leeds-based all-female quartet Esper Scout, 'Assumpta Tang' finds them on strong form with a track that keeps you rhythmically guessing as its always ambiguous moods shift and develop. The subtly off-putting beat of the opening squall of guitars, with its hard to pin down time signature, draws you in from the offset. This fades out to the echoing cleanly plucked notes of the verse before crashing back in with the same loose time. The drums pound and reverberate throughout, complimented with some nice melodic bass runs. "Head down to the road/ It's the only place to go" they sing in the quiet before the storm of the rousing outro, capturing the almost claustrophobic, need-to-escape feel of the song perfectly.
All this is excellent. The only weakness of the track has to be the vocals. The vocals themselves fit in with the moody ambience brilliantly, ranging from melodic to caterwauling as the song demands of it. Unfortunately the mixing of the track does them no favours. They suffer from sitting on top, bald and naked, rather than being properly worked in. This brings clarity, but given the cleverly ambiguous instrumentation of the rest of the track such clarity is stylistically at odds.
That gripe aside, the track without doubt grabs the attention, and shows Esper Scout at their dynamic best with a moody song perfect for listening to on repeat while driving on a dark night.