By The Pattern Theory
When a record like this comes through the post, reviewers earn the right to get a bit overemotional. After having umm'd and ahh'd over whether it was slightly unreasonable to nab the opportunity to review The Pattern Theory again, my desperation to hear this overrode my better sense. I like to think I'm vindicated, as it luckily turned out that the EP was fantastic enough to merit my silliness.
A one hundred percent positive reaction is clearly very theatrical, not to mention an ostensible logical impossibility, but elements in The Pattern Theory's "EP 1" seem simply to tempt exaggerated reactions. From the stunning promise evident on every track through to the charmingly distinctive artistic outlook, via some surprisingly nice production, it seems like a rather invincible EP.
There are an awful lot of pitfalls it could have succumbed to: for a start, the notion of an entirely instrumental 'pop' band understandably conjures up images of untameable music mess for some, taking their lineup as free reign to alienate listeners and fellow musicians completely, then superciliously throwing the term "misunderstood pioneers" around as a get-out-of-jail-free card. The Pattern Theory could never be reasonably accused of such a thing, as their songs are essentially elaborate strophic form with exquisitely catchy melodies. Inevitably and encouragingly, boundaries are pushed but never gratuitously and always with flair.
Musicianship is equally top-notch, and songs are chock-a-block with technical brilliance. The two guitar parts play off each other and tussle for attention, which is enhanced by the humbucker/singlecoil distinction, causing gorgeous polyphonic sprees. Meanwhile, bass parts are unusually inventive and melodic, often adding another layer of counterpoint - imaginative bass playing like this really puts lazy root-noters to shame. Last but not least, drumming is precise and gives each track a definite pulse but is by no means uncomplicated, rather frenetic and sprightly.
Each track on the EP is a gem - the 'mental imaging' take on song titling sounds somewhat absurd pre-listening, but the vividness throughout the album is almost narrative-like and descriptive: "Fields" is an achingly beautiful representation of the expansive rural idyll of its title, while Cities perfectly captures fast-paced, lively bustle.
And of course there's that little inconspicuously slipped in number in "EP 1", which promises that even more inspired creativity is pouring out and staggering tracks are waiting in the wings to be released, which in itself justifies the rapturous numerical award of a full whack of stars.
Glissando is Richard Knox and Elly May Irving.