Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music released these days? Have you even considered that aside from the dozen or so records that come out in North America each and every week, there are at least the same amount in Europe. So let's just grossly underestimate a bit and say that there are 20 records per week, at 52 weeks per year, giving us over a thousand records per year.
Seriously -- how can anyone really absorb all of that? We all have our limits, and some things are going to get missed. Like Who Are Your Songs For? by Guernica. During the middle of last summer, i got this promo CD from French label Greed, and i was struck with the talent of this young Belgian band. I wrote about half of the review that follows, and then got distracted by something else. This happens all too often, unfortunately. There are many good records that never get a full review here on EvilSponge, just because we don't have the staff or the time. (BRENDAN'S NOTE: This is a good time to point out that we are always looking for people interested in writing music reviews on the Internet. Email me if you are interested.)
Now, there is a fine line between nagging and a reminder. I don’t know exactly where that line is, but i do know that sometimes a record label will ask me "where is that review" and i get angry, while other times a label will ask and i will feel ashamed that i haven't finished it yet. I think it has something to do with quality. Often a reviewer says nothing because, like your mother told you, it is better to say nothing than to say something mean. Then again, sometimes i say nothing because i am just flakey and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music.
Anyway, the point here is this: Who Are Your Songs For? is a charming little EP by an up-and-coming Belgian math rock act. I would probably have not reviewed it if the Monsieur in charge of Greed hadn't emailed me to ask what was up with this… That's a shame, really, because Guernica have a lot going for them.
The EP starts with a bang. Opener I Wish I Was an American features layers of guitar tinkling against a frenetic clattering drum bit, while the voice is mellow and half-buried in the mix. This sounds a lot like any number of mid 1990s American Indie Rock acts, think Shipping News, The Dismemberment Plan, The For Carnation, or the like.
Far From Sound follows this with a martial rhythm and nice layered guitars. The third track, In De Wolken is an instrumental blaster. Guitars fly against guitar at a breakneck pace, while the drums struggle to keep up. This reminds me (vaguely) of Slint. Great stuff.
On the other hand, I Cried The Day Marlon Brando Died reminds me of Thousand Leaves-era Sonic Youth, or a dozen or so bands that toured the US in the late 90s, doing this sort of melodic math rock. Man, i loved this kind of stuff. Why did it never really catch on? This song features melodic chiming guitar, loping voice, and tapping drums for great effect.
After that mellow tune, Guernica get their noise on with This is The Age Of Too Much the vocalist sings through some distortion while the guitars and drums tear by at a furious pace. This tune reminds me of Fugazi a bit.
Finally things end with the awkwardly titled Conscientiously Escaping The Chains Of Western Civilization I Am What You Could Call A Postmodern Houdini. This is a mellower tune with guitars chiming in layers and tinkling lightly, more post-rock than math-rock for a change. A nice, low-key end to the EP.
Overall, this is very good. Guernica are not re-defining music. On the contrary, i think i have made it clear that there are a lot of touchstones for what they are doing. However, they do it very well, and have crafted an interesting listen. I hope to hear more from this band. I would be very happy to see this style of music make a comeback.