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by Roger Young / 30.11.2010

Creepy, echoey, fuzzy, poignant and at a slight but crucial remove from emo-inducing, the new Ampersand (his night job name) EP Demonomania is the perfect accompaniment to either an afternoon of rain and lazy half-hearted introspection or a pre-dawn session of self loathing. Issued on Jaunted Haunts it shows a glorious settling in to the affectations that jarred so on his 2007 EP This is not a Drill. This is not to say he has, by any means, gone soft, Demonomania is full of jangly guitar, upper register howling, grating mood switches and callous lyrics; it just somehow feels more natural this time around.

The EP opens with lazy reverb on “10 Minute Airtime”, vocal tempo changes from desperate and flippant, with lyrics like “You did something to talk about, thank you for dying”. “Up Against The Sun” is a swamp of guitars builds into a grand wailing. “Esprit d’Escallier” alternates cellos and acoustic guitar against a chorus of “not sorry I never said that, I’m haunted by it” followed by an almost sweet repetitive line. “Tonight You Will Belong To Me” is a memory of a broken heart and a campfire song recorded underwater. “One Day You Will Speak With Yourself” features the call and response of nonsensical but serious midget whales getting so deep into the murk chamber that the only real lyric discernable over the acoustic guitar and hollow sounds is “so happy”.

The “electro fl mix” of “Still Life” (from This is not a Drill) sounds like it was re-mixed Felix Laband (and I’m presuming I’m correct from the description) and is driving, escalating and, unlike any other tracks on the EP, bass heavy. Even if the mood fits perfectly it’s elements are from another oeuvre entirely and unfortunately it blows the lush cobwebs left by the previous five tracks out of the mind.

Weighing in at 25 minutes with eight of them taken by the remix of “Still Life” the reverb laden guitar soup of Demonomania is over before it’s begun, but it’s mood stays with you long after. It flirts with the edges of your consciousness, quickly and seamlessly shifts from anger to despair and in the end leaves you no more illuminated but strangely comforted.

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