This is a review of "s/t" recorded by Vessels. The review was written by Nick Kearns in 2006.
Patience. Doctors have plenty of them, but alas the general music-buying public of today have very little. Which is a shame, as music that doesn’t hit the immediate spot with a catchy hook or chorus will undoubtedly pass them by. Vessels self-titled debut E.P. is a soaring, vast expanse of chiming glacial guitars, electronic squelches and turbulent rhythms that incorporates exhilarating bursts of sound with gorgeously sedate introspective moments. One thing it’s not though is immediate - The Vengaboys this ain‘t. Be prepared to stick around for the ride, as this is one of those records that you’ll need to play on repeat to appreciate all the sly nuances and deft touches.
Formed out of the nucleus of former Leeds rock stalwarts A Day Left, Vessels eschew the aforementioned band’s “rock” tendencies in favour of a more sparse, ambient sound in the tradition of bands such as Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. However, this is not to say that this is a record that favours melancholic noodling in favour of heavy passages - opening two tracks “the beast” (great title) and “take it outside” feature static guitar parts that suddenly spurt into ballsy riff-outs. The latter of the two is perhaps the more adventurous of the songs in terms of structure, alternating between early Hopesfall-esque post-hardcore bursts and a soaring chorus.
Following tracks “Armed To The Teeth” and “Set Fires (Happy Accident Remix) add a more experimental slant to the E.P, as well as following a more mellow and blissful tangent than the previous songs. Starting with ghostly layers of eerie synths that brings to mind the rather epic theme tune of the great early nineties TV show “Twin Peaks” (nice coffee Diane) “Armed To The Teeth” progresses into a swirling climax of noise. “Set Fires” is, judging by recent live performances, the clearest indication of where Vessels sound will be going, a loop-laden concoction of DJ Shadow-style instrumentation and ethereal guitars. Nice.
Best song of the five here though has to be “Look At That Cloud!”. Yes, I’ll admit it; clouds are pretty epic by their nature, and could be seen as somewhat obvious imagery for a post-rock band to use, just like Trees, and, er… other such epic stuff. Kudos points for the exclamation mark as well. But listen, and you’ll understand. The song builds and builds, intricate and ultra-tight drumming being the catalyst around which swirls and chimes of guitar and beautiful noise create an absorbing piece that climaxes to an unbelievably exciting crescendo. On the basis of this, and the other tracks here, Vessels have an exciting future, and with the variety of influences and quality of musicianship evident here, one that is bound to throw up many twists and turns. Look out...