Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Selfless EP review


Adam, main-man and Twitter account singer/chatter/guitarist of Leeds based rock band Himself, recently asked his Twitter followers to review his bands latest EP, as the majority of music related press don’t deal with download only content. Being a fan of the band, I agreed to give it a go. What follows is my first attempt at reviewing music so please be patient with my average writing skills and (probably) biased opinions. I am but a simpleton.

I really, really like this EP. But the thing is; I’m not sure why.

Ever since I got the first EP (Herself, also available on the band’s Bandcamp page), it took me a while to get into. The first thing that strikes the listener about this band is the vocal style. Adam, who sounds like a North-Easterner, often ‘talks’ instead of singing, which at first, took me a while to get into. It doesn’t sound like poetry recital like you may find, for example, on The Van Pelt or Enablers songs. These passages are more akin to an (intelligent) friend talking to you in a pub. This takes a bit of getting used to. But used to it I am.

It isn’t as arrogant as I’m making it sound either; in the first song on this EP, the wonderfully titled Are You Sure You Want To Cancel This Wizard?, Adam takes it upon himself to explain parts of this prog tinged eight-minute-plus songs musical directions. It’s all done with its tongue in its cheek, and for me, it works.

Throughout the EP, at various points in each of the four songs, some big riffs pop up. I LOVE Himself when they put their foot down and I think it’s fair to say it happens more often on Selfless  than on their previous recording. Usually these monolithic segments take the listener by surprise, continue to twist and improve, then leave as abruptly as they arrived. These are my favourite parts of Himself. The musicianship is absolutely top notch. Three guitars nicely compliment each other and the rhythm section is as tight and inventive as it needs to be without taking the centre stage too much.

These constantly surprising riffs, varied vocal styles (harmonies are also abundant through the EP, and sound great) and sense of humour make listening to Selfless a very unique and original experience that I would encourage everyone to get involved in if you enjoy rock music. Stick with it. It rewards.

Basically, Himself sound like a band that live and breathe rock music, learnt how to play it, got bored with it, re-invented it, and fell in love with it all over again. It challenges the listener whilst not insulting them, and won’t cost you a penny. If a band that complex, inventive and brave can keep a simpleton like me interested, they must be doing something right. It also features the line ‘did we piss on your chips?’.  Just so you know.


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