Thunderous opener Eureka delightfully assaults the ears with a cacophony of noise, before, surprisingly, 40 seconds in turning into a Stornoway-like twee pop tune with soppy lyrics like ‘You’re a stumble tongued little princess.’
Guitarist and vocalist Joseph Kelly reels off lyrics that have obviously come from the heart, but there’s something that keeps the listener at arms length, and the melodic and jazzy instrumentation coasts along rather than soars. There’s an odd guitar lick here and there that catches the ear, but when the track reaches its apex, with vocals layered upon one another in a round of ‘You really should know this by now’ it lacks the electrical sparkle of life that it seems to be reaching for.
It’s an admirably dense track, which has shades of Them Squirrels to it, but lacking that outfit’s rampant experimentalism. Here we have a lengthy, autobiographical wander that tries to flip from explosive, to bittersweet to transcendental and never quite gels.
There’s a dry sadness to The Pronoun Game that mixes an Aidan Smith-like weary romanticism to minimal instrumentation. As the song progresses the inclusion of strings swooning and pinched pizzicato lends life to the later verses, but the sorrowful wails of ‘It’s not that fun’ don’t strike the right chord, though the contrasting funk rhythm of the guitar alongside the ever-ascending strings is in a nice final touch.
Closing track Glove is a plodding number, jazz drums and wandering bass slink around Kelly’s vocals until the thing finally erupts into a rather glorious collage of ramshackle guitar, it’s a vitalising moment, but woefully short lived before things slump back into its earlier laidback tones.
Fits and starts of inventiveness and imagination keep this three track EP alive, but, for the most part its a languid and limp affair. Kelly’s lyrics are occasionally touchingly personal and pleasingly honest, but sometimes there isn’t enough balance between either the lyrics being supported by the music and vice versa. An interesting listen, but a stepping stone rather than a milestone.
Hear Eureka in full at the Sotones Soundcloud.