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DEATHPODAL – “Exu__Wow” (Electropapknit Records, CDEP/Download)

Posted: June 7th, 2010, by Dave Stockwell

Death Podal

Deathpodal are otherwise known as Alistair Chivers, a resident of Glasgow and a veritable one-man band. “Exu__Wow” is his debut EP, consisting of six tracks and a refreshingly huge bundle of ideas. Released earlier this year on Electropapknit Records, this is a total DIY job with bits of songs recorded all over the place; at home, at university, in a portaloo, etc – you get the picture. With contributions from members of Copy Haho and Project Ven Hell, it’s a tasty morsel that I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into. I’m going to review this one track-by-track, as each is unique and deserving of its own attention:

Opening track “Robert” starts with understated guitar motifs and gorgeous clarinet breaths that wind their way around each for half the song, before beautifully blossoming into a lovely melodic instrumental downer of a jam that makes me think of prime-“A Thousand Leaves”-era Sonic Youth. Aye, it’s almost ‘post rock’, but only in that classic sense of every added layer of instrumentation (including some really nice subtle synth) adding depth and texture to the sound as the song progresses.

“Squirrel and the Fox” starts similarly quietly, but adds vocals and elements of musical tension that recall the quiet moments of Guy Picciotto’s songs for Fugazi in the best possible way. Again, the song takes an abrupt departure at the halfway point, breaking down into a quick squall of various off-key reeds¬† and squeeze box that flare up and die down before allowing a reprise of the original refrain.

“Every Superstition Shall Be Removed” starts with some scrappy guitar scratching before numerous layers kick in with an aggressive hardcore riff and strident vocals – ratcheting the tension levels up a billion degrees and sounding like almost a completely different ‘band’ to the previous songs. Screamed choruses reveal an impassioned frustration at god knows what, but it’s pretty damned exciting. My only minor quibble is that the drums are mixed too low to give the song the real sense of momentum it needs. A harsh howl of a solo brings everything back into focus for one final flourish before the whole song collapses into itself, leaving guitars flailing around a black hole of frustration.

“Sycamore” is a brief experimental diversion into processed sounds revolving around the reverberations of a select few piano chords. It’s atmospheric and a welcome pause before we make the final ascent.

Closer “There Is A Diagram For This” builds on the promise of all preceding songs by creating a mini-epic of murky, brittle guitars and cello that build up into an inevitable climax of a chorus, (with screamed vocals that bring old diskant friends Cat on From to mind) via a breakdown that also functions as a lovely Slint homage. From this impossible peaks the song quickly collapses into abstraction, clutched notes, ringing dischords, piano stabs and assorted other sounds. This devolution continues into snatches of vocal snippets and a final, anguished cry of pain.

This is a mildly fantastic and deeply heartening release – it’s refreshing to hear someone bursting with so many ideas whilst retaining a discipline and sense of musical aesthetic to make a coherent songs. Deathpodal covers more ground in these six songs than I’ve heard in other bands’ careers, but almost all of it sticks,and convincingly so. I can’t wait to hear where Deathpodal goes from here.

“Exu__Wow” is available as a CD in a full colour digipak with 300 gsm textured finish card, and artwork by independent publisher / designers Sing Statistics. Or you can download it from the usual places (Amazing Tunes, Amazon and iTunes. Deathpodal advises you to get it from Bandcamp, it’s the cheapest for you, it’s ethical and the money doesn’t go to third parties!). Support DIY! Buy! Buy! Buy!

Deathpodal website

Electropapknit Records website

Shameless Self-Promotion ALERT: Dead or American & Souvaris @ The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow on Sat 1st Nov

Posted: October 30th, 2008, by Dave Stockwell

Apologies for this, but seeing as Souvaris has been an ongoing concern for over 8 years now and have visited many strange and exciting lands (and venues) in our time, it’s always been a minor scandal that we have never ventured over the Scottish border. HOWEVER! This will change on Saturday, as we will be coming to Glasgow FOR THE FIRST TIME to help local heroes Dead or American to celebrate the release of their second album “Thaumaturgy” (that’s the art/science of miracle production, fact fans) on Predestination Records. With only two bands, it’s going to be a proper PARTY and hopefully both bands will get the chance to stretch out a bit and let loose. When your songs are as long as ours, it can only be a good thing. IT’S GOING TO BE A DOOZY!

So that’s ¬£4 in, doors at 8pm and it’s at the Captain’s Rest. See you there?