It always feels like a lottery when an album is shoved under your nose without any explanation or description of what to expect. It’s a little like finding a can of food after the wrapper has been torn off, what lies inside will only be revealed when the can is opened. This split EP – shared between two of Cardiff’s newer artists Perfect Body and Zac White – is a wonderful surprise, you’re expecting mushroom soup but finding leek and potato, two flavours for the price of one, with neither offsetting the other.
This type of music has been described as “noisy pop” and will appeal to those who enjoy the shoe-gazing genre and like their guitars drenched in effects with the vocals often sitting low in the mix giving a muddied production. Both acts sound inspired by My Bloody Valentine but there is also a feeling of 90’s Britpop throughout (but don’t be fooled in thinking this is some Oasis or Blur rip off, it’s much darker, less chart-ready, and more successful because of it).
The Perfect Body share of the EP is a nicely produced offering, the band boasts three singers and gives a neat insight into a band that possibly could find a home for themselves within a much larger audience. The sound they make is distorted, dark and strangely enjoyable to somebody who has little experience in this genre. I’ve had this EP on repeat for the last three days and it’s only strengthened over that time.
There is a slight change in mood when we cross over into Zac White’s slice of the pie, but it doesn’t feel forced or wrong to have these artists share the bill, their music stands up well in each others company. Again, it feels influenced by Britpop and more alternative 90’s sounds such as Sonic Youth but this isn’t a bad thing, there are some nice touches in guitar sound and bass tone and the lead vocal holds up nicely throughout.
The EP isn’t perfect of course, some of the songs could be judged as slightly overlong and there are some strange rhythmic things happening on ‘Fields’, but really who cares? It’s a nice snapshot into what is happening in Cardiff and a reminder that some of the best acts are coming up through the underground scene.