Epic45 are yet another member of the Make Mine Music collective that i am so fascinated with these days. They had two songs on the Flow compilation, both of which were rather nice. As a result of that exposure to the band, i was looking forward to this EP release.
When i tried to explain Epic45 in my review of Flow, i described them as a Hood influenced band, and that comparison holds true for the 5 tracks on England Fallen Over. What i mean by this is that Epic45 marry electronics with indie rock and mopey vocals in an English accent. If you are a fan of what Hood have been up to for these past few years, you need to check out these guys, who do a similar sort of thing and do it well.
England Fallen Over starts, logically enough, with its title track, which also happens to be the EP's strongest track. This song starts with a nice, loping dub beat, which is slowly joined by a happy keyboard riff, layers of guitar, and two voices singing barely out of sync. It's a really nice tune, and starts the EP off right.
Up next is Walk Led to Happiness, which features a wall of fuzzy guitar along the lines of what Flying Saucer Attack do. On top of this fuzz, guitars chime, and the voices sing through distortion. I like the contrast here between the guitar drone and the clear guitar arpeggios, and between the backing vocals sung through a megaphone and the foreground voice crisp and clear. It's a nice effect, and this is a fun little tune.
Swerving to Avoid Fallen Leaves is not only a brilliant song title, but a fun little track in and of itself. This is a nice happy guitar pop song played over a wonderfully stuttering drum beat. The voice here is echoed, less Hoody, and more like what Michael Grace does on many of the My Favorite tunes. The combination of guitar, beat, and voice is something that i think would not have been out of place on a Her Space Holiday album. Good stuff.
Epic45 slow it down for The Year Ahead, which starts with a sample of a scratched out old record, then piles in layers of keyboard drone, reverse echoed voice, and light guitarwork. This is a slow, vaguely sad tune, but i think it works nicely within the context of the EP.
Finally, Epic45 wrap things up with Onwards as the World Sinks. This song combines a sinister bass riff like something from an old post-punk tune (think Jah Wobble on Second Edition here) with a stuttering IDM beat and some light guitarwork. The tune grows and grows, building to a nice frenzy, then suddenly it drops off and drifts away slowly with a minute or so of ebbing synth tones. A nice end to a very rewarding EP.
Overall, well, i have to admit that i continue to be very impressed with the work of the Make Mine Music collective. They consistently release quality tunage, and this EP is no exception. Keep up the good work guys.