One of our favorite post-rock bands is back, and this time they’ve brought friends! Gothenburg’s Ef has established a name for itself over the past decade, and every release is now an event. Pelagic Records’ Split Series pairs them with Israel’s psychedelic rockers Tiny Fingers. This shouldn’t work, but it does. Even on the CD option (which doesn’t involve flipping to the other side), the flow is seamless.
Ef has become known for a strong strain of melancholy, as is apparent in their threadbare lyrics. Lead single “Hiraeth” begins I rest my head, I’m calm now, I lost my heart running around, it’s all gone. The track mentions winter, following a trend of prior autumn-based works. And yet the lyrics are not the lead story. Ef’s tender orchestration is in full effect here, and when electronic beats enter the mix, they demonstrate once again why so many of their tracks have led to remixes. A bittersweet, romantic video tracks the romance between two passionate men. In the final 90 seconds, the guitars surge and the drama goes over the top.
While this is the best track here, all are worthy. The instrumental “Sju” lowers the tone somewhat, beginning with a heartbeat and threading its way down a lovely, lonely path. The strings make the difference here, surging mid-track before descending into a slow drone. This sets the stage for the burgeoning “11 Shots & a Sudden Death”, the most rocking cut of the three. It’s also the most joyful, despite the dour “and down we fall” refrain. Operating as a musical metaphor, the track highlights freedom from pain. “Down we fall” may as well be “up we rise.”
This clears the emotional palette for Tiny Fingers’ instrumentals, which in this context operate as a sweet coda ~ until one realizes that they demand attention of their own. “Dust” and “Sanhedrin” swirl about, initiating a trancelike state. The synthesizer of “Dust” is reminiscent of Gary Numan, lending the track a throwback vibe. When that dust settles, the Sanhedrin (body of sages) meets to share chord and note: wisdom without words. Bassist Boaz Bentur proudly admits that these tracks are more jam-like than the band’s usual output, sparked by the freedom of writing a shorter work. He’s right; last year’s The Fall contains a heavier dose of guitar and electronics than can be found here. Yet these tracks, which began as an experiment, may yet be the start of something new. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 23 September