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God Is In the TV

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So we got this promo that described the music as "dark cello pop" from Scotland. I was expecting a haggis-soaked version of Rasputina, but fortunately the music is far more interesting.

But before get into that I need to rant a bit. You see, this has been a hard review to write due to technical limitations, specifically, no one involved in this project seems to understand tagging MP3 files. They sent me 4 files with names like “Oh fuck master - output - DRMZ" and "tauren - output - DRMZ”. I am not sure what the DRMZ means. But they did not clearly put the band name in the song file name, which I can forgive if everything was tagged. There is no tagging. None. My phone calls all of these songs “untitled track” and dumps them in the “unknown artist” folder.

Normally I would shrug that off and just delete them. Oh, well, they lost that review. But the songs here are really good. I mean really good. I’ll get to them in a minute but I have this to say to either Letters or (their label) God Is In the Vine – whoever posted these files: go pay a 15 year old niece / nephew / neighbor kid a few bucks (Euros? Do they still use Pounds in Scotland now that they have their own parliament?) to help you set up the MP3 files correctly. Really. This is important. Really.

Okay, so, I had these four songs that all I know about was a cryptic bit of title. So I searched through my mail account to find the original promo email, and pieced together what this is. It also took some digging on line to find the actual track listing, but fortunately God Is In the Vine at least have a decent website. I had not listened to the tracks in the intended order, due to the lack of tagging, but let’s just proceed with the posted order anyway.

So, first up, Explosions. In this song, guitars grind and drums thump slowly, while a cello deep in the background saws a great, dark, post-punk riff, just a trebly sawing away, like if Andy Gill had decided to play cello instead of guitar. It moves along nicely, driven by that great cello riff, and is some quality instrumental post-rock.

The title track is next, I guess. And it is a scorcher. Older Motion Picture grows in odd ways, with the cellos sawing away, grinding guitar, and some great deep drumming. But that voice, oh god, that voice. The singer has a lush male voice, rich with some natural tremolo, and it almost reminds me of the male voice in My Latest Novel. Who were also Scottish now that i think about it… Is this just how Scots sing? I like it! Here the vocalist channels early Interpol, but filtered through that natural Scottish tremolo. Lovely. I like the way the song develops. And they have a video of it:

Next we have Torren, and it sounds like someone else is singing. Or maybe the same person is singing very differently. Either way, this has a great rolling rhythm and lots of layers of voices in the background as cellos saw away in the front. Again, it is rather lovely.

And finally we wrap things up with From Time to Time, which has a nice staccato guitar part, sawing strings, and loud deep drumming. His voice sounds great here, but it is that rolling drum riff that makes this song seem like a lost classic from the 1980s. It all builds to a lovely climax, the vocalist really working it, bellowing "From time to time / I'm so tired”. A nice end to the EP.

So I like this. Really. Letters are doing some interesting things, and the record really rocks for something made by a cello based band.

Once they master the MP3 file, the rest of you had better watch out.

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