Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rhizomes - EFFI BRIEST


Sacred Bones Records.

SCQ Rating: 78%

In case you’re all wondering the same thing I was, rhizomes are the horizontal stems of a plant that reside beneath soil. All worm-like and bright, these tubes allow the plant opportunities to reproduce and, in the event a rhizome is cut up, its pieces will grow anew. So, what, I’m giving out pointless factoids on vegetation now? Yeah sorta… but only because the title fits EFFI BRIEST’s debut material like a spindly glove. Each song on the aptly named Rhizomes acts like a viaduct, leading its listeners into a murky, psychedelic underground.

An experimental-rock sextet specializing in tripped-out guitar drones that entwine into massive, groove-laden song-structures, EFFI BRIEST don't sound like – forget the sexist, all-female band comparisons – anything currently stunning the indie-scene. Now “massive” might seem like a misleading descriptor for an LP clocking thirty-five minutes in length but that hard-to-believe runtime highlights what’s so alluring about this Brooklyn-based group’s craft. Working long-form grooves and percussive loops into ever-deepening mantras, the title track and ‘Long Shadow’ command a far greater aural space than their length in minutes suggests. While ‘Cousins’ feeds off of swirling atmospheres, contrasting their raw guitar tones with a twinkling display of haunted keys, other tracks (‘Nights’) dispels that soft disparity in favour of 70s jams with world-music influences. Even songs like ‘Wodwoman’ and ‘X’ that hover around the three-minute mark have the presence of Eastern-tinged black-holes, as rooted in the exotic krautrock of Can as the angular post-punk stylings of early Cure.

It’s a delicate balance, no doubt, combining the raw aspects of EFFI BRIEST (Kelsey’s impassioned yelps, lotsa guitar) with the smooth bass-hooks and occasional ambience on display. Whether writing a nocturnal lullaby for the disaffected (as on ‘Shards’) or a dance-ready triptych (on single ‘Mirror Rim’), EFFI BRIEST prove themselves worthy successors to The Rapture’s early promise… just, you know, trading that DFA group’s house-party funk for eerie dissonance. By the way, upon further investigation, rhizomes can also be defined as philosophical theories that permit random points of entry and exit. Yep, that works too.

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