One of the great mysteries of modern day music for me is the inexplicable rise of the EP. I just don’t get it. Singles, yes – a bite-size nugget that leaves you wanting more, either a snapshot in time or a teaser of what’s to come. Albums, obviously, I understand those, a collection of tracks which act as a milestone of some kind, a statement or stopping-off point from which to reflect and move forward. EPs. “We nearly had enough tracks for an album”. The end.
This is Dyr Faser’s sixth release with Eric Boomhower and Amelia May in partnership steering the ship and the band’s first full-lengther in eleven attempts. Dyr Faser has shifted stylistically over their releases and in this respect, their many EP releases have made sense, little sojourns to test the water without confusing listeners as to why they should commit to them long-term. It makes sense then that Private Islands is cohesive in tone and succeeds entirely because this allows for a truly immersive experience. Truly immersive as it sounds as though it was recorded under the sea.
This is not meant as a negative. Dyr Faser would easily get dragged into the Shoegaze scene by some – maybe even themselves, who knows, but to me they follow the lineage of Krautrock Gods of yore. If you consider the alien synthetic genius of Cluster, this is their cyborg octopus descendent, ever-unravelling tentacles of reverb guitar cast forth from a stainless steel brain. Their own description on Soundcloud refers to themselves as “Twisted Exotica”, which is entirely plausible – if Hawaii or Java sank, you would probably hear Dyr Faser if you cupped a cowrie shell to your ear. Only on the penultimate track, Not the Other Side Again (magnificent titling, guys) does it feel like we ever come near to the shoreline, and, even then, only in some kind of crab-like scouting vehicle to survey the damage.
Private Islands sees Eric playing bass and synths as well as vocals on We All Like the Same Things, with Amelia playing guitar and all other vocals, often a stream of controlled birdsong, an Edda Dell’Orso-like ear-bath. A vintage drum machine keeps time throughout – not necessarily with the songs themselves but more like an old grandfather clock reassuringly doing its own thing in another room. Equal parts devotional and psychedelic, it’s a testament to how structuring compositions in and around each other can be a transcendental experience. Excellent stuff.