So giraffes, yeah? Do they have long necks because generation on generation they slowly bred so that the ones with slightly longer necks were more successful, each generation being a centimeter or two taller than the last? Or one day was a freak giraffe born with a very long neck who managed to have a whole host of long necked babies which were also very successful straight away? What if there was a long necked giraffe who didn’t even realise what a gift having a long neck was?! That’s right, Errors are the third giraffe.
Wait, stop! This is not completely off the wall. Bands evolve all the time, or at least they do when their record label gives them half a chance to. Fortunately Errors are on Rock Action Records, which means their bosses are Mogwai, a band who once not only wrote a half hour song based around an old Jewish hymn, but released it as a single. If anyone would show patience it would be them. And so they have, resulting Errors delivering this rather fine third album. But the suspicion remains, are these giraffes who didn’t realise their long necks could help them access those tasty leaves?
Exhibit A is the very first track, ‘Tusk’, which sounds like an Errors song. It twinkles coyly into view, then whips out its guitars, then saunters off and struts around a bit while the guitars and the keyboards call to each other, in a manner which, let’s be honest, the largely hush-hush giraffe doesn’t. What ‘Tusk’ does is act like a bridge from their previous albums, especially Have Some Faith In Magic‘s immediate predecessor Come Down With Me. ‘Tusk’ then leads into ‘Magna Encarta’ which sounds a lot like ‘Tusk’. Except it it doesn’t. It sounds like ‘Tusk’ but beefier. When it explodes it’s not a call and response between two animals, it’s the sound of a whole savannah of beasties all yelling in harmony at each other. If ‘Tusk’ sounds like an Errors song then ‘Magna Encarta’ sounds like Errors have upped their game. The band even through in some vocals, albeit waiting until nearly three minutes have elapsed to do so. They’re the sort of distant, singing-through-from-the-depths-of-your-memory vocals so beloved of chillwave, only here they sound epic rather than reedy. Then it turns into a moody computer game soundtrack. Then there’s a massive explosion of postrock guitars, of the sort their label bosses would kill for. This all takes place in just six and a half minutes.
The rest of the album never quite hits ‘Magna Encarta’s heights but much of it gets close, and does so using the blueprints laid out in that song. ‘Pleasure Palaces’ brings in a dancey beat, a euphoric if completely indecipherable lyric, like Washed Out‘s very best and a steady groove. ‘Cloud Chamber’ steals Interpol‘s guitars throws them in a cave with Metronomy, and comes out with something which would sound right at home on both Turn On The Bright Lights and The English Riviera. ‘Blank Media’ chugs along like the underwater level of Super Mario but with a distant choir of burly Scottish blokes yearning for something in the distance. It’s an album packed with moments of pathos, inferred as it’s pretty much impossible to work out any lyrics at all, but it still packs a nice emotional punch.
And that’s the question, did these giraffes realise they had long necks? Apart from the vocal there’s very little on here that Errors haven’t done before but here they’re doing it better, and creating a more distinctive sound. If and when some other band steals these ideas and makes songs like these, we should call them Errors-esque and point to this as the template. It’s a cerebral and multi-layered record, but it’s accessible and engaging. So were they capable of this all along but just didn’t feel ready to step out? Or have they evolved slowly, a few centimeters of neck at a time to reach the point where they’re towering over most of the music scene around them? Who knows? The giraffes will always be one of the zoo’s top draws, regardless of how they got there.
Release date: 30/01/2012