The brand new Dark Era Tapes label is off to a fine start with Easychord‘s Not In My Family Tree. From the sound of this cassette and the label’s upcoming releases, “dark era” seems to have less to do with the artists than with the time in which they live. Easychord may use dark notes, but falls comfortably within the ambient vein. The piano is played for texture, but the electronic washes and thrusts provide the overall feel.
Since the album is often content to establish and explore patterns and settings, the strength of each track is a factor of its core sounds. The strongest of these arrive in the pops and beeps of the opener (the well-titled “An Inkling of Hurricanes”), the rising and falling waves of “Thin Pixelated Crowd” and the active stutters of closer “This Is Just a Nightmare”. The fact that two of the strongest tracks are the opener and closer indicate that Easychord is keenly aware of what works best; the other tracks could have used a bit more development. A pleasant mood is a fine thing, a distinct mood would be even better. (Richard Allen)