Review: Tombstones In Their Eyes – Fear EP

Tombsones In Their Eyes - Fear EP (cover).jpg

The extended player is the black sheep of the musical family, neither fish nor fowl – not once has a pub conversation ever reached the dizzy heights of “what’s your favourite E.P?” It’s not clear why only five tracks have appeared from TITE – surely no band happily stands there and says they only have five decent tracks on offer? A statement single as a teaser, certainly, but five tracks, if they’re any good, leaves the listener demanding more and not in a good way. There’s an element of “well, if they can’t be bothered, why should I?” However, it is a progression from last year’s release. An E.P of four tracks – quite how traumatic their 2014 album was to create is unclear. Apparently there is a lead single from this release, which seems even more like telling the audience which songs (out of a whole five) they should start with. Regardless, I attempted the presented Herculean task of listening to a very short album/long single as best I could without someone holding my hand.

…and of course, inevitably, it’s pretty good.  Good, in spite of hanging its coat up on the shoegazy hanger rather too readily – John Treanor’s vocals marginally getting away with zephyrs of musical breath being acceptable rather than worthy of detention for lack of effort. In fact, they grow on you, there’s an innocent lapdog quality that makes you feel like patting him on the head. The lead track is I Want to Fly, which, sadly, is rather as overtly “let’s do drugs kids” as you’d imagine: bits of Pink Floyd; lots of Sonic Boom, alarmingly, even a bit of Ride, it’s competent but very derivative, churning on for six minutes ‘just because’ rather than leading to a satisfying conclusion.

Far better is the follow-up, Separate, a really cleverly assembled mesh of chants, end of the world percussion and death rattle guitars. A synth joins in the fun, leading to a paradoxically depressing euphoria – it builds and builds but only towards, you suspect, doom. The temptation was surely to span this out over ten minutes but at three and a bit, there’s an element of restraint that I feared was lacking. The reverb thrums out in space rock fashion, the fears of floppy-haired grunts dispelled.

Their choice of palatable single comes next, Always There, feeling like a slight apology for the first two tracks, nightmarish swirls of sound abandoned for guitars that have more than a whiff of net curtains about them. All chimes and no charm, it’s fine for what it is but not a good advert for the band. Next, Another Day is edging towards Stone Roses territory, though saves itself with a far more seething undercurrent. The title track closes the affair with a more Monster Magnet-esque stomp, the tambourine splashes feeling ritualistic rather than hippy-ish. Maybe five tracks are enough – one really quite poor track, one really good one, three which may depend on how forgiving you are. It does have quite nice cover art, something I haven’t felt the need to comment on for quite some time. If all else fails, you could look at the sleeve and play something else.