Es, Less of Everything (Upset the Rhythm)
Less of Everything is the debut full-length from Es, a London, UK-based four piece comprising vocals, bass, synth and drums. It’s a sharp, gripping collection of goth-infused punk that deserves a wide audience.
Tauter in feel and execution than Object Relations, the band’s great 2016 EP, Es come flying out of the gates with opener, ‘Chemicals’. A roiling, Banshee sounding rhythm and chunky bassline underpin vocalist Maria Cecilia Tedemalm’s lyrical quandary – “what have I acquired/to be getting/so tired” – a musing equally apt in these pandemic times as it is a statement of more general frustration and feeling of uncertainty. Tedemalm sings of an existence where a necessary tough skin becomes “too thick” (‘Foundation’), a sense of “hanging by a thread/uncertainty/lies ahead” (‘Severed’), grasping at straws “with my mind” (‘Hidden Track’), but also a fightback, rising “fully formed” (‘Sesame’) – lines delivered with equal parts withering dismissiveness and rising indignation.
While the band’s various parts and shapes sync to great affect throughout, a particular mention is needed for the amazing bass playing of Katy Cotterell and drumming of Tamsin M. Leach. Being guitarless, Cotterell’s bass plays a dual role of holding down the fort and leading the melodic charge, while the heft and sway of Leach’s drum hones the album’s overall percussively trippy feel. Musical signposts can be heard in the aforementioned Banshees, 17 Seconds-era The Cure, X-Mal Deutschland, Savages – the tension and drama across the nine tracks is palpable. One personal favorite (if I have to pick), ‘Severed’, almost veers into pop territory before the synth turns ominous and pushes the track over the edge and down the rabbit hole. A fantastic debut.
Less of Everything is out now, courtesy of Upset the Rhythm.
Highlights include: ‘Sesame’; ‘Chemicals’; ‘Severed’; ‘Kingdom Come’