This is a review of "Illuminate Incinerate" recorded by Esper Scout. The review was written by Chris Wood in 2011.
'Shed Some Light' starts off with a great ambient guitar riff before the drums kick in. For me the mixture of progressive song writing and pop hooks is a winner. The two guitars intertwine perfectly and help to deliver the chorus which is underpinned with some great backing vocals and drumming. I particularly like the breakdown where all hell breaks loose on the drums and guitars screech away into the background. There is also some nice tasty distorted guitars going on in various parts of the track which helps the song chug away. The only slight problem I have with the track is that I wish it was recorded in a high end studio as it has the potential to be a real classic song given the right studio treatment. However this is something a record company or a rich friend/relative should be sorting out. Overall it's a great start to the EP itself and a great track when played live.
Fires is a bit more dreamy than 'Shed Some Light' and features Smashing Pumpkins esque post rocky interludes. The drumming is a great feature on this track all rolling toms and china crashes throughout the song. It doesn't really have an obvious hook like 'Shed Some Light' and suffers for this. The track is a little over long at over seven minutes and might have benefited from a different section or more obvious hook to break it up a little.
Next up is a SAAPSSS remix of their first track from their debut EP 'Kids and Pets,' called 'View From Above' a song that attracted my attention a couple of months back. This is a sort of ambient dance remix which works very well as the original song is great and has a dreamy alternative rock quality about it. I think the lyric "the seasons are changing in black and white" is a great lyric which conjures up images in your mind of falling leaves in a park when set to the music being played.
To round off the EP is another remix of a track from their debut EP 'Wallet of Brass Coins'. The drum beat is quite machine gunny for the first minute or so with a heavily reverbed vocal drifting around it. Sounds not unlike the idea behind the track from Batman Forever called 'The End is the Beginning is the End' which was a favourite of mine at the time. Around the 3.50 mark there is definitely a nod to the Pumpkins again in the ending chord sequence which ends on a long Nirvana esque note of feedback.
All in all this is a refreshing EP from an up an coming Leeds Alt rock band (75% imported Mancunians) finding their own particular sound. If they can deliver songs with the same hooks and melodic phrases as 'Shed Some Light' and 'View From Above' then Leeds has another potentially great Alt rock band on its hands. After a while of there not being very many alt rock bands in Leeds to get excited about, it seems quite a few have appeared at the same time.
You can catch Esper Scout opening the Big Xmas Horse Party at 2.50 this coming Saturday afternoon at The Packhorse Leeds.