Attempting to balance on the line between pop and experimental music must be hard work at the best of times. Even the titanic band at the forefront of the practice, Radiohead have a slip up every now and again. It is encouraging then to see a musician and producer still near the beginning of their career and yet pulling off this balancing act so well.
This is the debut EP from The Kite String Tangle, following last year’s single Given the Chance. This EP is certainly a continuation of that single, but also a progression. The EP opens actually somewhat disappointingly. Arcadia is a nice enough song that hints at a more ambient style than is present on the track, and soon becomes one of the only songs on the EP to swing too far towards the ‘pop’ side of the music. The skittering beats and soothing ambiance are a perfect fit for one another, but plinky-plonky synths and an irritatingly obvious vocal melody let the side down and push it towards being just another down tempo electronic song that we hear every time we walk into an Urban Outfitters.
Sticking with the EP is the best thing you can do, because as soon as What If unfurls and blooms it becomes a masterpiece of taught tension and effective release, managing to be catchy, upbeat, and hauntingly beautiful all at the same time. Whilst it would be true to say that EP is on its way downhill from this point would be true, it would also be doing the EP a huge disservice. Stone Cold seems engineered to be played in clubs, and is very effective in finding that sound without losing what makes the track interesting, and Words takes that ball and runs in completely the opposite direction with it, wallowing in its own slowness, building to a pulse quickening climax.
Vessel EP is an exciting twenty minutes, and though there are some minor bumps here and there, this looks to be the beginning of long and interesting road for The Kite String Tangle.