By White Belt Yellow Tag
You're the guitarist of a band widely labelled as 'cool' and picked out as the 'ones to watch out for.' After releasing four records though, your 'distinct' music fails to make much of an impression. The group eventually disintegrates; so where do you go now? Well, with his new project, White Belt Yellow Tag, Justin Lockey (ex Yourcodenameis:Milo), has firmly left behind the jagged experimentalism of his past and is instead following a project that sees him have broader ambitions: 'Remains' is an accessible, big and arresting E.P. to say the least.
You can clearly see a marked change in Lockey's approach to his music; whereas Yourcodenameis:Milo's material was laden with effects, White Belt Yellow Tag's brooding melodies spiral into a richly textured harmony of pulsating drums and soaring, elegiac guitars that are reminiscent of early Echo and the Bunnymen and Doves But it's the distorted, expressive indie vocals dripping with disjointed emotion that drives their opening track, 'Remains;' they subtly linger over the eerie guitars until the propulsive rhythm sections force them to become loud and potent, propelling the song into epic territory.
It's quite obvious that White Belt Yellow Tag have mastered the art of contrasting tempos and volumes; in fact, after listening to this E.P. once, you'd think it was their trademark. In both 'Control, Designs and Innovations' and 'Dalliance,' they brilliantly merge delicate moments of musical beauty with raucous walls of noise. Yeah, I admit it's predictable and in places a bit repetitive, but it's crafted with great skill. There's something truly cathartic about the entire thing; in the explosion of noise, there's a simultaneous explosion of raw emotion too.
White Belt Yellow Tag's focus is without doubt on the instruments; there's no vocals on 'Control,' for example. But with the dark atmosphere that surrounds the dirty, raw sound of their guitars and drums, surely they're heading into the realm of Editors and even White Lies, who are now locked in the undesirable sub-genre of ominous stadium indie.
To describe this E.P. in one word: epic. But it's consciously epic; you can sense that this is a record that takes itself very seriously indeed; after all, on the back of Yourcodenameis:Milo, isn't this what Lockey wants: to have his music taken seriously. Let's just see what White Belt Yellow Tag's forthcoming full-length release, 'Methods,' due out in early 2010, will deliver.