Sunday, 11 March 2012

Review: Flies Are Spies From Hell

Flies Are Spies From Hell - Nerves Still Beating (Field Records)
Flies Are Spies From Hell (FASFH) bring us something close to post rock, or maybe it’s nearer to prog rock, or should we just accept it’s a mixture of both, and leave it at that? No, post rock wins out... no vocals! However, we’re only talking about the first two tracks on “Nerves Still Beating”, the title track and "Axe To The Root", as the remaining three tracks on the EP are remixes, and because of this, need to be kept slightly apart in the appraisal.

So, the opening title track is a very slow, melodic burner, until a third of the way in, when FASFH suddenly inject it with pace, and a guitar that flies around your head... and just as suddenly it returns to a more diminutive sound, solo piano to the fore, with a fine guitar and rhythm blending in nicely... only to break out again into a cacophonous climax that again tails off with a gentle final 30 seconds. Hot/cold, fast/slow, loud/quiet... it all works to the music's advantage, with peaks and plains juxtaposed cleverly, so that you don’t tire when listening. "Axe To The Root" begins just as slowly and gently, gathering pace and volume surreptitiously, and then gliding gently down, before the sudden return of the louder elements again. Different tune, same format, and the tunes aren't exactly miles apart, but don’t lack interest.

It all depends on the way you approach the remixes, and if you want more of the same you may be disappointed. Anyway, we‘ve had the best part of 15 minutes of that, so it’s as good a time as any to change direction. Up steps "Wallow In Threat (Court of Hidden Faces Remix)”, which appears to continue what we‘ve just been hearing, apart from the tempo and volume changes, and without these highs and lows it’s pretty ordinary fare. "Great Deadener (Gunning For Tamar Remix)" follows, which is almost remade into a dance track, rave or otherwise. Neatly done, but not my cup of tea. Last of all is "King Sly (Karhide Remix)”. I’d describe it as a louder, faster, a very exotic take on New Age, with bravura to spare. That is until the dance beat kicks in. It picks up around half way through, and we’re swirling around to fast new beats.

Make of it what you will. There aren't many out there with the temerity to have a base in forty-year-old King Crimson; to get you shaking your longhair, and moving your feet, too. More power to you, FASFH.
Kev A.

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