My IKEA catalogue home may not define me, but
my record collection certainly might and these days everything
is turning a distinct shade of Swedish. In fact, Sweden might
well be my desert island music nation. The colossal Kent have
long been a secret blend of New
Order, U2, and Radiohead known
only to a lucky few outside Sweden while outselling those
mighty bands within their native shores. Yet Kent could be
considered as old-guard these days. Sweden is proving to
be a highly fertile breeding ground for a new generation
of acts. Jeniferever,
immanu el, Ef, The Search, Hearts of Black Science and now
De La Mancha collectively put forward a powerful case for
next 'happening' country. Putting, if you like, the Eden
Not to be confused with the UK breakbeat website of the same
name, De La Mancha could be described either melodic alternative
or emotive post-rock, and this self-titled EP is a delight.
Theirs is a hazy, languid style owing more to a humid summers
day than any ice bar. The verse on Grand Canyon Smile testifies
to this. At first we're unsure whether we're in for effects or an acoustic
busk. However, as we reach the climax, they hit the pedals and the track soars.
Vocalist Jerker Lundh stays within the higher ranges on Daylight Stars and
calls to mind Wild Swans Paul Simpson or a restrained Billy Mackenzie. Everything
seems playful, almost freeform, before the power kicks in and De La Mancha
show their nu metal side. They have not yet left a "Trail of Dead" for us to
know them by, but there's a side to them that I reckon would like to.
After those two hybrid gems comes a slice of oddness in the
form of Anima. If anyone can recall little known indie
act Delicatessen, it's as though somebody flicked through their
back catalogue and tossed one of their songs to Radiohead to
cover. Whether De La Mancha have as many issues as either
Thom Yorke or Neil Carlill seems unlikely. Perhaps they are
too busy enjoying themselves?
Psalm is a pretty piano-led instrumental recalling Sigur Ros' soundtrack work. Following this is final track Travelling [sic], a sprawling jam that is certainly epic if not quite psychedelic. I'd guess it might be a fan favourite from the live shows, as these tend to find their way onto early EPs.
Overall a lovely EP showcasing a band that isn't afraid to wander free from rigid structure and conformity. I like both the looseness on display and the emotive angle. Anyone needing further convincing should be aware it comes in a very attractive digipak. Beautiful, distressed metal photographs but no, don't expect any trademark artwork analogy from me. Nothing rusty or flaky about de la Mancha. Just a warmth and dignity that suggests the forthcoming long player will be a very interesting listen. I'll be getting it. That's some kind of recommendation I think?