CLUAS Album Reviews

Illness 'For All you ABC-1s Out There'

Nov 23

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010  RssIcon

A review of the album 'For All you ABC-1’s Out There' by Illness

Illness - For All You ABC-1s Out ThereReview Snapshot: 'For All You ABC-1’s Out There' captures the chaotic chemistry of two talented musicians searching for their musical path. Admittedly, the mediocre quality of the recording limits the band’s potential to make an impact in the commercial market at this moment in time. As an indication of things to come, there is certainly enough here to suggest that Illness are on their way towards future success. 

The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10

Full Review: History has shown us that culture is self-referential and reactionary, with new trends developing in response to the dominant art forms of the present day. The sentimentality of Romanticism produced a suitable counterpoint in the Realist movement, while the excessive theatrics of Hair Metal begat the shoegazing philosophy of Grunge. Now in this post-digital age, bands are beginnings to revert to the DIY aesthetics of seventies Punk and Garage, abandoning professional production values in pursuit of a more primal sound. 

The output of Brighton instrumental band Illness harks back to an era when Beta Max and the Gallatica console were considered advanced technology. With a thoroughly minimalist approach to orchestration, their style hovers indecisively above post-hardcore, math rock and noisecore. New EP 'For All You ABC-1’s Out There' captures the raw sound of a band jamming in the basement of a balmy underground club. 

Standout track “Paper Cut” epitomises the band’s disregard for common methods of composition, stitching post-hardcore and industrial sensibilities together in a relentless bacchannal between guitar and drums. The closing section of the song features a truly iconic and merciless riff that would turn Trent Reznor a whiter shade of pale. 

Spencer’s double bass beats on “Blakey Junction” act as a fitting constrast to the malevolent two-chord melody of the intro. The progression shifts intermittently between minor and major, amalgamating the dark atmospherics of Post-Rock with the minimalism of Grunge. The song certainly highlights the level of musicianship attained by the duo, dispelling previous notions that their unorthodox style is merely an exercise in charlatanry. Having said that, the precision and clarity of the guitar suffer severely from the asperity of the recording set-up. Emilio’s riffs are lost under layers of guttural lows and jagged, high frequencies. 

“Early and Rude” preserves the band’s penchant for unconventional song structures but benefits from a far greater sense of cohesion. The landscape of sound bears more resemblance to a canvass than a battlefield with riffs flowing together amicably instead of jostling for supremacy. The serrated guitar tone mimics the corrosive cadences of Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney as it slices through the mix with a series of pummelling powerchord progressions. 

"Way Crowds Move” fulfills all the prerequisites of contemporary post-hardcore, falling in line with the likes of Funeral for a Friend & From Autumn to Ashes in terms of instrumentation. The upbeat, sixteenth rhythms compliment the melodic chord voicings of the guitar but the song is marred by the limitations of the rudimentary two-piece model. It seems natural to wonder whether the addition of a supplementary instrument would propel their experiemental sound into the realms of the avant garde.

John Ryan

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