Posts Tagged ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’’

eMERGENCY heARTS – 6th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

SINE’s new 5 song EP, Mantis 1, is the first in a trilogy of EPs, “Mantis 1, 2 & 3”. The hype for the release pulls a spotlight on the involvement of a name producer, with the EP being ‘produced by SINE founder, Rona Rougeheart in collaboration with esteemed audio engineer Charles Godfrey at Scary American Studio in Austin, TX. Godfrey, in his two decade plus career, has been engineer/producer on over 75 recordings, including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, It’s Blitz! and Mosquito, The Black Angels, Indigo Meadow, and notable work for…Trail of Dead, SWANS, among so many more’. No question: Godfrey’s resumé is impressive, and there’s similarly no question that a decent producer can make a huge, huge difference, with great production having the capacity to render a recording far more than the sum of its parts (Joy Division simply would not have been the same without Martin Hannett’s work, however unconventional and difficult his methods), while equally, poor production can be crippling. Then again, engineering is perhaps equally important: it’s worth noting that Steve Albini doesn’t consider himself to be a producer, but his engineering skills have brought the life to so many albums, and not just the ones he’s renowned for. Still, for all that, you can’t polish a turd: you still need songs and for them to be played in a way that does the material some kind of justice.

Everything comes together just so on this release, and one question I often consider is how close to the artistic ambition is the end result? I have a sense that Mantis I is everything Rougeheart had in her head at conception.

‘Attack’ certainly brings plenty, a combative, dark disco thud of a beat pitched against a relentless throb of synthesised bass. In contrast, ‘Until’ is more overtly pop, but it’s pop in the way Garbage are pop – eclectic, savvy, the production simultaneously crisp and grimy. ‘Future Whores’ is stark, and if there’s something of an early New Order vibe about it, there’s equally some early Pet Shop Boys, and that’s by no means a criticism. Then again, the expensive, yawning notes border on the mellow new age grooves of The Beloved, while the distorted vocals and thumping bass are more industrial… in combination, it crashes hard in the domain of industrial shoegaze, and if that’s not yet been recognised as a thing, now is the time because it’s here and it’s in your face.

Things get murkier and meaner on ‘Blurred’, where I’m reminded of The Human League’s ‘Being Boiled’, only with a harder technoindustrial edge, and the pulsing, bulbous bass is dominated by Rougeheart’s blank, robotic monotone vocal, that’s treated with a metallic edge and some grainy reverb.

Closer ‘Control’ burrows deeper into the darkness, a shuddering mass of slow velocity – yet for all the crushing grind and gnarly digital distortion, the dislocation and thunderous tribal drums, it still slides in a truly aching bridge with a magnificent vocal melody that evokes wistful summer scenes, before crushing them like ant underfoot in a driving death-disco slam.

It all adds up to a meaty and pretty powerful release, and if the idea of releasing three EPs instead of an album seems perverse, it will be interesting to see how SINE utilise the format after such a strong start.

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