Brighton outfit Ezekiel Doo have just officially released their first 7″ single, Hallway Song, via their home label Twitcher Records. Self-assured, intriguing and nuanced, it is a solid debut from an up-and-coming band to behold.
Channeling a variety of apparent influences – from early Dinosaur Jr and The Replacements, through Washington, D.C. hardcore to Louisville, K.Y. post-rock – the record’s eponymous composition exudes ethereal atmospheres of painful introspection prompted by a sense of inadequacy and alienation. The impact builds up gradually with a hypnotic pace enhanced by melodically warped riffs and wistful vocals which, veering from confessional to visceral, convey a torment of confusion and despair in the face of societal demands. About mid way into the song, its provisional narrative structure, like a life in the early stages of construction, crumbles into dust under the pressure of amassed feedback and distortion. The low-fi frenzy raises as suddenly as it falls, giving way to some delightfully contorted sax-y lyricism (Dr. Pete of Hill). Nonchalantly thrown against the sturdy wall of bass propulsion and interwoven with meandering guitar lines, it flutters and quivers until cutting itself short in a feverish paroxysm. The meditative mood returns with a throb of resolve, yet the increasingly convulsive phrasing suggests an ongoing struggle.
Texturally rich and dynamic, Hallway Song strikes as an enthralling and ambitious piece of work setting a high bar for the band’s future releases. Side B proposes an attractive counterpoint to the single’s key offering. Tapping into the best traditions of krautrock, Untitled is a bewitchingly addictive industrial track founded on a rhythmical theme layered with guitar fuzz and an impassive vocal delivery. Further exploring the theme of emotional turmoil stemming from the inability to conform, it presents its more despondent, lethargic face. Sometime in the second half of the track, a series of robotic discharges, followed by insistently oscillating notes, amounts to a glorious bit of cyber-noise which ultimately exhausts its supply of electrical impulses, ending in abrupt silence. Oddly, despite or maybe precisely due to the fact that it is so inorganically sterile, that instant end and the utter void it evokes feel chillingly tangible and relatable in the perspective of human expiry. Imaginative, dark and seductive, the song is a splendid example of a musical landscape whose synthetic quality directly points to the biological agency behind it and vice versa, alluding to the undeniable affinity between the two ontologically opposed entities.
The record, taped by Sweet Williams’ Thomas House at Vernon House and mastered by his bandmate Jon Griffin at Crow Studios, features enticing artwork by Anthony Blokdijk. Lathe cuts of 45rpm black wax are available exclusively in September via Bandcamp for shipping around November 15.
feature photo: Cole Flynn Quirke
© Anna Bajor (Tracks & Frames), 2019