Review: Toy Mountains – I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again

toy-mountains-album

Toy Mountains are set to unleash their new EP, I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again, and it’s quite the feisty beast.

Having already received air time from Daniel P. Carter on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show with the track ‘Old Friends‘, I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again is best described as progressive alternative rock infused with math-rock and hardcore influences.

Great care has been taken in both the writing and production of this record. Each track has it’s own intricacies and musical ideas, with each musician understanding how their instruments interact with the rest of the band. Far too often is the bass guitar relegated to purely copying the rhythm guitar, so it’s always refreshing to hear a bassist having centre stage. A great example is the simple but effective melodic bass lines at the end of the third track on the E.P., ‘Full Circle‘.

Toy Mountains aren’t afraid of tackling issues everyone faces at one time or another, and this can be clearly be felt with I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again. With the first track, ‘Hard Done By‘, there is a sense of regret, anger, anxiety and uncertainty that gradually builds as the song progresses. By stark contrast we are then presented with a instrumental interlude played on a just a singular piano. After the previous burst of outwards emotion, ‘Piano Interlude‘ acts an introspective retreat and a release of all the built up tension. With ‘Piano Interlude‘ we also get our glimpse of how Toy Mountains explore music beyond the confines of “genres”.

Toy Mountains manage to fit a lot of musical ideas into a short space of time. The third track ‘Full Circle‘ may only be two minutes long, but combines melodic guitar lines, dissonant harmonies, and emotion fuelled vocal performances which culminate in ambient guitar lines over the aforementioned melodic basslines.

Old Friends‘ once again ramps up the tension as the song progresses. It’s interesting to note the song rarely returns to a musical idea; instead it constantly develops and evolves the previous ideas. ‘Old Friends‘ starts with an airy harmonic idea, which is swiftly followed by a heavier chugging rhythm. This rhythmic phrase then develops, creating a variation that includes short intricate melodic phrases between the chugging chords. The song then shortly returns to an airier, more relaxed feel, but it is distinctly different from the introduction. The track ends on an unexpected curveball, which you’ll have to listen to the song to hear. Everything Ends‘ delivers more complementary and contrasting ideas, including a chaotic outburst, a delicate chordal passage, and a dissonant guitar line combined with a distorted bass and melodic guitar.

The longest track on the E.P., ‘Sight Reading‘, rounds off I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again. Being slightly longer allows the track room to breathe. It starts with the return of the piano, before crossfading into a very intimate combination of vocals and a guitar. As the track progresses the rest of the band are introduced, but the harsh emotions from previous tracks aren’t present. This is a much slower, more sombre affair. The track continues building tension up to the finale where we get one last burst of that raw and pure emotion.

I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again is an EP that deserves multiple plays to appreciate fully as there is a lot to take in. As with anything, the more time you put in, the more you will get out.

I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again by Toy Mountains is released on 25th November 2016 via Crooked Noise Records.

 

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