Friday, September 14, 2012

English Words: "Red Potion" (album review)

A healthy respect for the past can be a valuable source of inspiration when a band is developing their sound.  There is no doubt that PEI's English Words were listening, and appreciating, an awful lot of '80s post-punk when they were recording their debut full length Red Potion (out September 18th).

Synth pop is blended with a dark atmosphere to form the foundation of the songs on Red Potion.    The slow-growing "Bad Joke" is an unrushed Thompson Twins-esque orchestral-synth gloomer.  The dreamy opener "Bumblebees" is reminiscent of James' more ethereal early work.

The propulsive synth beats that are present on "Devil Under the Bed" are forceful, but never overbearing.  Similarly the fat beats on "Takeover Panthers" belies the Anglo influence at the song's core.

At their best, the songs are soothing and melodic.  Tracks like "Pay To Play" and the lead single "People I Love" will have you drifting away on their elegant flows.

Further to the experimental side is "All My Lovers".  The track has a hypnotic rhythm that sounds like English Words have taken "All Tomorrow's Parties" and fed it through a synth pop filter.

English Words have definitely had a hoot raiding their older brothers' record collections, heck maybe even their parents' at this point.  Impressively, they've managed to incorporate those sounds rather than merely replicate them wholesale.  For that they deserve credit.

English Words play the Rivoli in Toronto on October 26th.

Best tracks: "Bad Joke", "Pay To Play"

Track listing for Red Potion:
  • Bumblebees
  • Devil Under the Bed
  • Bad Joke
  • People I Love
  • Takeover Panthers
  • Pay To Play
  • Jessica
  • All My Lovers
  • Go To Bed
  • untitled

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