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Music Review: Brim Liski – Brim Liski (EP)

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Brim Liski bring a welcome energy to the shoegazer rock field. Containing members from A Shoreline Dream, with guests, it could either be a studio side project or something more. Although their sound is awash with the typical elements of spaced-out guitar echoes and heavily reverbed vocals, they seem to be aiming for a more direct – yet still visceral – connection with their music, as opposed to something that simply gets by on being "dreamy." It's not a radio edge, necessarily, but it's about as close as the genre typically gets. Channeling the ghost of Chapterhouse, the band have a similar love of electronics and declarative rhythms to help ground their sound. And it's an infectious one.

Lead track "Flight" almost has the energy of a breezy single, but then warps it back into something slightly more cautious and slightly sinister. The almost-clear vocals make it more rock friendly, although they are still stacked to infinity and back. "All The Things" follows, and is one of the catchiest tracks from these modern offerings I've heard in a while. The brilliantly simple lyrics of "All the things I do, I do, I do / All the things I know, I know I know. I know I know…" are backed by a hypnotic beat and textured pads. The slightly askew "An Endless Drive" starts off with jaunty rhythms, and like "Flight" twists moods and expectations just enough to create something both familiar and unique.

Some of the tracks hang out in a more instrumental vein. While "Moving Winter" contains vocals, they are used as more background instrumentation than anything else. The all-instrumental "Longing" contains the shoegazer-synth energy of Ulrich Schnauss with more dedicated guitar tones. And the stripped down (if something with that many effects put on it can still be considered stripped down) "Driving" ends the set of songs with something a bit more far off and late night.

Closing out the release are a couple of remixes for "Fight." The "Jap Jap Remix" keeps the style of the song mostly intact, but slows it down as more of a chillout track. The "c.db.sn Lost In Space Remix" isn't much farther off, but turns it into more of an echo-ey breakbeat relaxer. The remixes are both well done (if not monumentally divergent from their source material) and help pad out the preceding tracks into something that almost feels full-length.

If Brim Liski is just a side-project, that's a shame, because it's one of the more exciting (albeit short) releases from the genre in quite a while. For something that came out of the blue – and may unfortunately slip well below the radar – it feels remarkably mature and self-assured. With clear vocals, nicely balanced production and – most importantly – memorable tracks, their debut self-titled EP will suck you in for repeat listens. Hopefully the EP grouping of tracks is a sign of a more proper full-length to come, but regardless there is no reason to hesitate in checking this out if you are a fan of the genre, or just of good alternative guitar rock in general.

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About David R Perry