Physical Forms is not what one would expect from a group comprised of Busdriver and ex-members of The Mae Shi, Upsilon Acrux and Division Day. While I’m kind of disappointed that they aren’t a noise-rock take on Nu-Metal, what they are is still satisfying. Most groups containing members that were at one point a part of The Mae Shi have managed to be different enough from The Mae Shi so that they don’t just sound like an attempt to recreate the group, but retain the group’s integrity. Everything from Ezra Buchla to Signals have been amazing, and Physical Forms don’t fall short. Their first single, “On The Brink” starts out with a synth part that immediately reminded The Islander of “Pwnd” by The Mae Shi. The drums come in which brings the song’s energy level to something one would expect of a project that includes Jeff Byron. Busdriver’s vocals are the song’s distinguishing factor. They manage to be almost bluesy while still having a theatrical quality to them. Overall, “On The Brink” is an exciting song from a band that is bound to start causing a lot of excitement very soon.
Snowblink is a group from Toronto, who are currently touring with Owen Pallet. I find this completely appropriate due to how similar stylistically the two artists/groups are. Snowblink features beautiful vocals layered over instrumentation that is half ambient and half cinematic. Daniela Gesundheit’s vocal is really darn impressive, and her voice is warm and sweet, which is rare. “Rut & Nuzzle” is a comforting track, and gets better the more you get to know it. The usage of sound effects is interesting, but after a few listens it falls into its place and starts adding to the atmosphere that the song produces.
Duos often sound like they are lacking some necessary element of their sound, but this isn’t a problem at all for Washington’s dimples. The simplicity accents their dry songs perfectly. Ian Judd’s vocals are calming but also indifferent. The group’s usage of harmonies is very rudimentary, but this just further adds to the unadorned vibe that dimples produce. “Top Ten” is a very simple two minute track that is extremely fun. The drum tone, while being parched, is extremely powerful and acts as a backbone for the track. The mundane vocal melody manages to be absorbing, and the guitar track sits perfectly in the middle of the mix. “Top Ten” has a striking resemblance to Times New Viking, but this is in no way a bad thing. Everything about dimples is charming and enjoyable, and hopefully more from them will become available soon.
The Vaccines have a very produced sound. Their website is: http://thevaccines.co.uk/ which looks very professional but still feels whimsical. In many ways, this encapsulates how The Islander feels about the group. They appear to be naive and inspired, yet they are extremely polished. The highlight of their debut single is “Blow It Up”, which starts off very noisily, but turns into a fun pop song that is enjoyable. The only minor issue with this song is that it doesn’t have a particularly strong point of view, but despite this it is absolutely worth a listen or two.