Irma Vep - a play, a film and the musical project of Glasgow-based Edwin Stevens. His fourth album, Embarrassed Landscape, was recorded in two days with regular collaborators Ruari Maclean and Andrew Cheetham. Clattering indie rock with nods to The Velvet Underground, Pixies and mid-’70s Bob Dylan filtered through Glasgow’s very musical veins.
Vinyl LP £18.49 WAAT072LP
LP on Gringo. Edition of 500 copies.
Limited CD £9.49 WAAT072CD
Digipak CD on Gringo. Edition of 500 copies.
- Limited edition
You've got to admire an album that begins with five minutes of a cosmic, transportive drone jam before any singing starts. The squalling free jazz swamp that happens about three minutes in on Irma Vep's 'Embarassed Landscape' is usually found right at the end of records, think 'Black Angel's Death Song' or 'Sister Ray', but Irma Vep's head honcho and only consistent member Edwin Stevens seems content to put us throught the ringer early on.
I enjoyed this record. It reminded me of a few classic groups like the Velvet Underground and Television, as well as Kurt Vile's early lo-fi work and Shonen Knife. The instrumentation is pretty standard, with drums, guitar, bass, and viola/violin, but it's the arrangements that really turn the record into something interesting. Song structures and arrangements are whipsmart with no chaff (despite having four songs over six minutes).
'Embarrassed Landscape' has this hazy, slightly roughhewn quality that perfectly suits the songs. The record feels alive and kicking. Stevens' singing is mired in all sorts of sonic detritus, distortion, chorus, and although it might be nice to hear the vocals come to the fore a little more, I think for the most part it's a democratic move that allows the music to speak for itself.
Listening to 'Embarrased Landcape' is the sonic equivalent of a long country walk: refreshing, revitalising, and transportive.
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