There have been many good strong instrumental rock releases this year, most of which I just didn’t find time to listen to or indeed know about. Luckily I have some very good imaginary friends on Twitter who recommend records to me, plus the stuff that comes via the blogs I write for. Even still I wish I had more time to sit down and listen to the huge amount of talent out there.
With this much material it’s inevitable that listeners will make comparisons to what they already know and many will make judgements based on a quick listen. The problem is this is at odds with most experimental and progressive music, which is generally less immediate, instead delivering more with each listen whether it be sparse or complex. What it means is spending more time with fewer records but I promise it’s worth it.
So to this self-titled EP from Edinburgh four-piece Tidings, with three ten-odd minute songs that flow like mercury with rock-solid foundations for melodies that vary between delicate and thunderous. It’s the thread that holds the songs together that’s too often missing from instrumental music – you need the layers and the vertical slices, but it needs a core. That’s where Tidings really shine as the thread intertwines with the layering, regularly swapping between instruments and themes and even with the appropriate moments of silence, but always there making the songs feel complete. You are left with a ten minute song that doesn’t feel like one idea tacked onto another.
After about seven listens I was left with a real feel for where these guys are coming from. There is a gold mine of subtle variation and experimentation going on without a hint of overuse, yet there is no sense whatsoever that this is contrived or disjointed, so natural is the flow. One element not so subtle are the occasional explosions of heavy guitar that grab you by the ears and rocket skyward before eventually tumbling back down to earth like Felix Baumgartner.
At three songs long this EP works well. Any longer and I would want some variety in tempo and mood to give it more dimensions, but as it is this is a great debut release. Spend some time with it.
Tidings is available now on bandcamp
Posted by Gilbert Potts