Methyl Ethel is the brainchild of Perth resident Jake Webb, who planned and actualised every last sound on this debut album of the project (live, they are a trio). Oh Inhuman Spectacle is a proper 4AD album, made up of melodic indie-pop songs with a slight psychedelic angle, all coated with an electronic shimmer.
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9/10 Ben Straughair Customer review, 4th July 2016
The Liquefying mantra of ‘Idee Fixee’ hypnotises. Dropping the listener into a whirlpool of dubby bass, icicle riffs, beguiling vocals and cinematic imagery. A psychedelic neon noir, the opener sets the scene for a debut LP of tracks, that are mini mind movies in their own right. The triggered samples, atmospheric choral harmonies and flanged indie fuzz of ‘Shadowboxing’, encourages revelatory hallucinogenic introspection. The Methyl Ethel sound is multi layered, seething with passion/tension and glazed with honey. Jake Webb’s quizzical lyrics and unique vocal sound add fathomable depth to the current, as the album flows. ‘Rogues’ sparkles like shimmers of moonlight on the crests of sea waves. Thom Stewart’s emotive bass spins around Chris Wright’s rhythmic percussion, playful, philosophic and cyclical. ‘To Swim’ is a beautiful piece of music, its 'One Dove' tonality and gospel'esque' arrangements create a graceful sound comparable to that of The Besnard Lakes.
Twilight Driving’ nostalgically transports the listener with a smile. There is something victorious about this track. Like the memory of a first kiss or the sun on your face after two days of festival rain. 'The Lost Boys’ beach party saxophone breaks like a crescendo of euphoria. With the crash of a Lysergic piano we drift into ‘Depth Perception’. A pensive, processional, metronomic march of karmic tempo with hymn like, surging, delayed attack, heaven pads. Dawn bird calls, crickets, distant pipes and tubular sonics harmonise in a Bodhisattva vow. The tribal sea shanty of ‘Unbalancing Act’ chants “I was making progress without urgency” as alpha waves of alt-folk oscillate like a calming balm.
Never at bay for long, the penetrative tendrils of reality infect the peace of mind on ‘Also Gesellschaft’. Gristly rubber gutter funk bass phases in and the narcotic razor edge of flanged vocals cuts through the isolating heartbeat of Wu-Tang drums. Our Limo cabaret escape, ‘Obscura’, escorts us from the temptations of the metropolis with Sci-Fi B- Hammond organ. Acoustic chords wrapped around trademark theatrical vocals, underplayed with melancholic bass, scrunched super and fuzz lead riffs. Crowd rocker ‘Artificial Limb’, sardonically skips along aloof and bemused at the trappings of reality. ‘Sweet Taste’ is a transmission straight into ones subconscious. Glass keys titillate the cerebral, loved up grin synths sizzle as we, weightless, are left “bubbling in the stew”.
Dark side of the loon closer ‘Everything as It Should Be’ is a return to serenity. Even it its most probing critique of the modern. Out to the furthest reaches of its interplanetary edge. This is an LP about Love in its many forms. In spite of its beautifully crafted reflections upon the condition, the album observes, accepts, absolves and with a civic hearts sighs “Oh, Inhuman Spectacle”.
Out now on '4AD', 'Dot Dash Recordings'. PURCHASE IMMEDIATELY.
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- Oh Inhuman Spectacle by Methyl Ethel
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