Instrumental music can be hard to get into sometimes. The lack of vocal hooks or traditional song structure makes the style of music difficult for some to take in. The irony is that the absence of such elements allows for bands to create interesting and creative music. UK math-rock outfit Cleft are one such band.
On the duo’s latest EP, Whale Bone, Cleft give a short-but-sweet burst of instrumental math rock jams that are both intricately written and fun to listen to. The production is wonderful; the guitar tone is angular and clear while still offering a good reverb kick when needed, and the drums feel organic and sharp. Both halves of the band are represented well, with neither aspect overshadowing the other.
Whale Bone really shows off the wide range of songwriting capabilities Cleft possess. Brief bursts of punk rock power chords and short ambient pauses punctuate the grooves, noodling, and complex time signatures on display throughout. What's really great is that no two songs sound alike. ‘Flexuous’ has a slower, jazzy jam-sesh vibe with some rather heavy riffs interspersed with minimalistic breakdowns; ‘Gulch’ is a noisy punk rock foot stomper; and ‘Trapdoor’ pulsates with spacey melodies and reverb-heavy riffs.
Overall, Whale Bone is a varied and energetic listen that offers a short but sweet glimpse of what Cleft can do. The passion behind the music on this EP gives me the impression these songs would be awesome to hear live. Perhaps my only real gripe is with the length – not just with the EP, but with each song. They all feel tight and cohesive, but some moments felt truncated and I would love to see what the band could do given the proper time and resources. Nonetheless, Whale Bone proves that Cleft are band deserving of your attention.
Posted: Thu 18 October 2012