Blustering like the winds buffeting the cliffs of Dover, a torn and ragged alarm rings through the still moon-lit air. Is it an overrated All-American superhero that is actually an alien, suscept to human desires and faults like the rest of us, only capable of actually destroying the world? Or is it a crestfallen and silent vigilante, enshrouded by mystery and a bat costume, driven to the point of insanity by the puns of his bewilderingly themed enemies? No, it’s the post-punk enema of Melbourne four-peice ESC. It’s spelt like the button on your keyboard, but it sounds like an angel stabbing a narwhal. Let that sink in for a second. Then go buy the record.
The reason you should buy this record is because ESC provide sultry, swaying post-rock, like HTRK meets Sigur Ros meets Joy Division meets Chrome. Any one of those bands being involved in the influences of someone is post-worthy, but all four? You’ve found yourself a goddamn saviour of music.
Although the album is only 5 tracks long, one of which is an instrumental Intro, the remaining four only get you more amped up at the prospect of more material to come. Starting with ‘Blacklight’, which features a doom-impending drum/bass fued and switchblade electronics, coupled with harshly whispered vocals and washes of sound, ESC already establish themselves as an engaging post-rock icon. After that, ‘This’ tracks mud through the house, with a spaceship landing intro, a concise snare and snarled samples. When everything’s been said and done, there’s an Ooga Boogas-ish vibe to the naturalistic, walking through the bush meets pysch decay. This continuation of Aussie drug trips in audio is continued into Track 4, ‘Atomic Shadow’. This is a track that sees Depeche Mode sharing a needle with Muse, and the result is a staggering stage show of not letting the listener see your hand until the final moment, when it’s too late, and they’ve been sucked into the whirlpool already. The guitar is friendly and encouraging, with it’s spindly flicks of flair, but the bass fuzzes and gushes just behind it, warning of the danger. Seriously, that bass is fucking killer. The final flourish, ‘Deathbed’, again exemplifies the less is more category, vaudeville organ splattering a grey portrait of simplistic gothy rock. It’s like a Tim Burton movie compressed into a 6 minute song, but a good one, like ‘Beetlejuice’.
Dark and mysterious, I feel like I only understand ESC a little bit more than from when I first pressed play. Nearly half an hour later, and all that’s to show is moody, ambient post-rock that is sheltered, yet amazingly good. It seems that the more hidden ESC keep themselves, the more enduring they sound. The EP is fucking fantastic.