ILLNESS are a two piece guitar/drum combo hailing from my home-town of Brighton. Apparently the band formed as an ‘engineering project’ (whatever that means) whilst they were at University, and have stayed together since to bring us this EP via the splendid Smalltown America label (home of the excellent JetPlane Landing, and my faves Fickle Public).
The Shellacly titled ‘Old Song’ opens rather abruptly, reminding me of a faster 90’s band that I can’t quite put my finger on. Unfortunately, even with some attempts at mixing up the song with some nice angular breaks, the tune doesn’t really go anywhere.
‘Baneface‘ does a lot of the same, only shorter. ‘Gutmilk‘, however, is a far more impressive piece of riffery that pummels you, then does some nice ascending guitar trickery, finally returning to the pummelling. ‘Dave Escapes‘ again jumps all over the place between nice deep riffing, and some excellent fuzzed up guitar hooks.
Annoyingly, ‘Mark in Spring‘ almost falls into the same category as tracks one and two, but saves itself with a nice epic ending that pleases. EP closer ‘Hail! Kitty‘ is a very sonically pleasing piece of ‘build up and explode’ song-writing, with some delicious stabbing discordance near the end.
The problem I have with this kind of style of music is that no one seems to really know how to record it. This is probably a personal taste of mine – I know the whole lo-fi/bare-bones style is quite popular at the moment – but what are probably amazing tunes live, become a little flat when translated to recording. After listening to this EP, I’m really keen to see this band live and prove my theory (which to some is the point of a release these days), I bet they are great.
Lsiten to Ilness on Myspace.