Album reviews

24

A review of the album Nightcycles by Subplots

Review Snapshot: At times melodic, at times fractured, Nightcycles is at all times a beautiful and ambitious debut long player and, for that, Subplots must be applauded.

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review:
SubplotsWhile it is fairly obvious that Phil Boughton, Daryl Chaney and Michael Orange listened to a lot of Radiohead while they were growing up, it would be unfair to peg Subplots as yet another Radiohead wannabe.  Having set tongues wagging and ears twitching with the excellent We Carved Our Names in Glass EP in 2008, the band have released an album that shows them as a trio not afraid to plough their own furrow.

Recorded over an 18 month period with Ciaran Bradshaw (Dark Room Notes, Oliver Cole) it's no surprise to learn that the 10 tracks that make up Nightcycles were recorded at the same time as last years EP and the single Alarm. Opening with the sparse yet melodic 16:9, Nightcycles contains some of the most beautifully crafted songs you're likely to hear this year.  

The stand out track for me is the dark, brooding Anchors and Kites, which sounds like the best song Mercury Rev never wrote. Other notable tracks include Leech (though it is probably the most Radiohead-esque track on the album), Remainders and closing track, Violent Sea.

Despite all its charms, Nightcycles isn't an instantly accessible album and Subplots unique approach to song structure and melody may not suit everyone.  Not that music has to be accessible, indeed I tend to personally favour music that requires some effort.  However, from a commercial point of view it is difficult to imagine any of the tracks (outside Anchors and Kites and Remainders) receiving much radio play.

Overall, Nightcycles is as accomplished as it is ambitious. Littered with tracks of exquisite beauty, Nightcycles is a must for anyone whose music collection is not dictated by current trends.

Steve O'Rourke


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