New release roundup 7th July 2014 – Tokyo Witch Hunt/Factory Acts

FACTORY ACTS – THIRST EP

Click to go to buy page for EP

Last friday saw the release of their debut on the Analogue Trash label. We’ve been waiting quite a while to hear this after first being impressed by their music and performance at Hardware way back in 2012. We loved them so much we had to have them perform for us at DEF3 (December 2013) and threw our hard earned monies at them as soon as the EP was available on pre-order. There was already the delightful Senseless and Fantasy available on their bandcamp page but obviously this wasn’t enough, fortunately this EP is here to satiate our Thirst for more (And there it is the joke we were all dreading – Ed).

It’s fairly predictable to say that we are not disappointed by the release – after all it’s a studio version of what we’ve enjoyed live but it is surprising to some extent how much variety is shown in just the four tracks on offer. A powerful exciting opener in Thirst. An insistent and slightly disturbing sound in the vocals – “I’m going to push your buttons” really it very much does. Followed by more subtle laid back atmospheres with ‘Car Crash’ quite at odds with its title. It’s the longest piece on the EP at 5m33s allowing time to wallow in its dreamy ethereal presence. Flight is an instrumental which surprised by having more in common with chillout dance than we expected. Despite lacking Susan’s signature vocals you can hear a lovely bassline from Matt and some beautiful analogue synth tones. The final track Animal Spirits is one that we know well due to an unmastered version being offered for free download some time ago. Here it has been clean and polished to its ultimate form. It’s a track so full of different layers of audio expression there are so many elements to delight your ears from speak and spell like bleeps to that trademark vocal style we love so much.

It’s a brilliant release that comes highly recommended but that was pretty much always going to be the case. Analogue Trash are proving a very interesting label and we’re eager to see what exciting signing they make next.

Oh and while we think of it, do buy the physical release for that absolutely gorgeous digipack artwork, created specially for the EP by the artist known as Peigo.

TOKYO WITCH HUNT – NO STRAIGHT LINES EP

Click to go to buy EP

It’s been available since mid June actually but we’ve not managed to get chance to talk about it until now. So let’s get cracking shall we?

The EP is 4 tracks long (as it should be) – Therapy, EP5, Downtime, On The Ceiling and offers a generally more downbeat and brooding atmosphere than any previous release from this much favoured band of ours. It is of course quite genre defying as ever.

Therapy sexily creeps along as a panther might stalk its prey, the menacing undercurrent of slap bass like each limb slinking toward its intended victim. Synths swells and elaborate percussive sounds attack like the leap onto the prey. Which is of course us listeners. A stunning piece which incredibly comes in at under 3 minutes in length.

We generally try to avoid the track by track breakdown despite having done exactly that above. So we’ll stop it. Now.

Instead let us pick out some of the sublime and wonderful elements that make this EP what it is. Because frankly there are few acts around that produce music that has the effect on us that this EP has.

It’s effortlessly cool, it’s modern and innovative in sound and has a strength and power that seem unmatched. There’s a great sonic variety on offer here with each track having its own distinct flavour and depth but yet also managing to create an overall ‘feel’ to the whole EP. Undoubtedly in part due to Izzie’s distinctive and decidedly British sounding vocals – no need for faux American accents here. Whilst we’re on the subject of the vocals we really must mention we love the creative use of vocal effects used to add extra atmosphere.

All this is the work of Izzie alone, who is seemingly at a brilliant creative peak. We’ve loved her previous work from the ‘Push’ album (which wasn’t well received by certain snot nosed critics) to her first Tokyo Witch Hunt album ‘Eclectic Electric’. The last couple of releases Hyperfreeze/Tailspin and No Straight Lines seem to be forward looking without losing the essence of what Tokyo Witch Hunt are all about.

So if you’re looking for powerful, sophisticated and full of emotion you really can’t get better than this. Oh and the physical release while just a card wallet, looks pretty cool as well. It omits the white border found on many of the promo images, which enhances its cool 302.6%.

Now enjoy the delightful video of Therapy.

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