Friday, August 7, 2015
Cassette Review: The Diane Plains "Somnambulist EP" (Tenderly Surrender)
[£3 // https://tenderlysurrender.bandcamp.com/album/somnambulist-ep]
If you've ever considered writing reviews about music (Because, hey, why not, free music, right?) The Diane Plains will give you reason to think otherwise. You see, it's very easy to gush about your favorite bands and perhaps even easier to rip apart the bands which you do not enjoy as much but what happens when you find something that you just can't stop listening to but simply cannot find the words to describe? No one ever thinks about those artists who you're not going to be able to string together reviews for because of their unique styles and, yes, days like today I'm glad I'm alive in the 21st Century and not a hundred years ago. (Imagine having to describe The Beatles to people for the first time? No thanks)
Through crunchy distortion and tranquil space the sounds on "Somnambulist" have a far away lo-fi sound to them. Though as I listen to this more and more, I begin to think that it isn't so much about the music and especially the vocals being distant but rather it just feels like it is locked within a small room and we are listening to it through the keyhole. Immediate comparisons can come out for similar artists such as Mazzy Star and Cowboy Junkies but the word "similar" is relative and those are really the only comparisons I can make for the duration of this cassette. While it kicks in heavy and begins thrashing in ways it also remains psychedelic.
With lone drum beats this can become eerie as it focuses its attention on being closer to spoken word. It's also a bit dreamy and then there are drum stick rolls. I almost want to put this into some sort of -gaze genre, especially on Side B, but is there such a thing as psychgaze? If it does exist, I imagine this isn't what it sounds like. I know that I've heard psychedelic bands before who have hung out in the shoegaze genre as well, but The Diane Plains doesn't even really sound like them (If you're thinking of a fuzzy/psych/garage version of Jesus and Mary Chain or Sonic Youth then you're way off here) And that's my biggest task in reviewing The Diane Plains-- because it simply does not sound like any combination or singular sound I've ever heard before.
So let's look at the facts. This is good. No, this is really good. Should you be listening to this based on musical quality and appeal alone? Absolutely. But what else comes with this is what makes it that much more special. You know "genre a" plus "genre b" creates "subgenre c", but what if you heard those two genres together and the end result was not like everyone else in "subgenre c"? The Diane Plains takes these ideas of what you think you know about music and destroys them. That's why I can tell you this is trippy, distorted, dreamy rock n roll but when you put those characteristics together in your head what you're imagining is not what you'll be hearing. What you'll be hearing is the likes of which you've never heard before.