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Youthmovies – Polyp EP

Rating: ***

It seems that the career strategy for any serious new band these days is to maintain the momentum of the debut album with an EP six months later. And though Oxford experimentalists and mates-of-Foals Youthmovies would balk at terms like ‘career strategy’, that’s exactly what they’ve done. It will come as no surprise to fans of their March debut Good Nature that Polyp EP is no less oblique, multiform and downright difficult. The music runs the gamut from trumpet-led math rock to slick electro, underscoring Beefheart-ian levels of lyrical weirdness: “Lachrymose, lachrymose, how you have your grip, twisted like a Möbius strip.” If such lines don’t have you reaching for the dictionary (or the eject button) you’re just the kind of intellectual Youthmovies are evidently targeting. Congratulations.

Polyp EP is out now on Blast First (petite)

www.myspace.com/youthmovies

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…And we’re back!

tree in motion

So: Happy New Year folks!

Christmas is a strange time of year it has to be said. There is nothing to do. Zip. Everything’s shut, no-one ventures outside, too stuffed to rise from their Baileys and chocolate fuelled stupor. Surely the ideal time to write some blog material? But no.

It’s not just physical energy that’s lacking at this time of year; the mental energy is out too. I’ve toyed with the notion of writing something over the past fortnight, but it would have probably just come out as “Hmmmph, meh, ach…” before I gave up and zoned back into some DVD or mindless TV.

But today is the 3rd of January, which means that festivities are officially OVER. DONE. DEAD. I can slowly feel my brain thaw out, and my guilt dictates that I really should post a blog on this here thing.

But I don’t want to waste your time with further self-indulgent moaning, so let me recommend some quality new music for a new year. Last week I dispensed with some of my Christmas pennies to buy a rather fine looking 12″ single: Balloons by Foals, produced by the knob-twiddling genius that is Kieran Hebden.

It’s easily the best new song I’ve heard in months. This version is about ten minutes long, starting with a chunky beat and a spindly guitar, before Hebden works his magic, boosting the dance-punk with big, heavy FX. At one point it sounds like a hoover has been positioned next to a mic (perhaps the studio cleaner interrupted the session) and later there are blasts of horns that sound like a steam train is bearing down on you. It’s terrifying and brilliant in equal measure.

Just don’t try to play the B-side. It’s an etching, and it doesn’t sound too good as your stylus scratches over it.

Anyway, sounds like they’re gonna be one of the bands of 2008. Hope you agree…

The regular, radio cut of Balloons is on their MySpace.

 (That picture at the top is of a Christmas tree by the way – all blurry and artistic innit?)

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