The Altered Hours - On My Tongue - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

The Altered Hours - On My Tongue

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7 Release Date:2018-03-09
The Altered Hours - On My Tongue
The Altered Hours - On My Tongue

Cork-based Irish psych-sters The Altered Hours have been mining their guitar weaves for the best part of this decade, releasing a number of EPs and one full-length over the course of their career. With album #2 looming on the horizon and just before commencing a short UK and European tour, they have produced a new EP that nicely reveals their varying influences and different scopes that they are pursuing throughout the release.

The title track opener is perhaps the weakest of the record, which clearly is in thrall to Spacemen 3's 'Revolution' with its monotonous fuzzed guitar, joined by a mostly 2-note throbbing bass, bass-heavy drums and a buzzing bee-like guitar hovering overhead. Cathal MacGabhann's vocals are thin and buried and feel a little overshadowed if a little apt “she left me quite empty with nothing more than sense”. Though there's an urgency the outcome feels like The Underground Youth without the mystery or a flatter counterpart to early Telescopes. A pretty standard track in a crowded genre.

'Open Wide' is much improved, with a little tone-bend in the guitars and chock-full of intrigue. The guitars benefit from being a little more downbeat, with a hint of Levitation or fellow Emerald Islanders Girls Names, in the spectral atmospherics. The use of layering adds additional elements leading to a far more interesting track. The backing vocals are more audible too and the lead complements the music better with lyrics “it's how you lie” nice and mantric.

Elaine Howley takes the vocal lead on the far busier 'Over The Void'. With tinges of Sonic Youth, September Girls or a non-metallic Scheer, the guitars buzz more discordantly, percussion pounds and the bass is stuck more aggressively. Elaine's tones neatly changes from a forward and direct verse to a more angelic and sweeter chorus, resulting in a great track that successfully blazes its trail in a little over 2 and a half minutes.

The pace drops a notch for closer 'Hey No Way'. Though the drums remain heavy, they are complemented by the appearance of acoustic guitars, with a country, dustbowl-tinged aura, nearer to Rollerskate Skinny, especially as Cathal's vocals appear, with an edge of Whipping Boy in its spoken-word delivery. Denser than much of the EP, but with no elements suffering under the weight, it is an interesting track that maintains the uneasy guitar elements that pervade throughout the whole EP but takes on new and interesting dimensions. The pace ups quickly, turning into a frenetic temp as the guitars wail sonically into a wall of abrasive but beautiful noise as Cathal's vocals become frenzied whilst disappearing into the background, like Prolapse ingesting Lee Ranaldo whilst immersed in the back catalogue of Fuzz Club Records, it is a lo-fi treat, that climaxes an absorbing EP.

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