Album Review: Felt Tip – Simple Things EP

By on Tuesday, 10th June 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

London-based quartet Felt Tip are the latest hot tip from Fierce Panda; the band are already receiving attention from the likes of XFM, BBC Introducing and BBC 6music for their singles ‘Love or Pity’ and ‘Milk and Honey’. For their latest release, an EP titled ‘Simple Things’, singer James Tyler, guitarist Anton Trampon and drummer Tom Rapanakis are joined by new bassist Jade Spranklen, who played her first gigs with the group just this past April. Spranklen will no doubt play a key role in future live gigs, as the songs on the ‘Simple Things’ EP are dramatically bass heavy, grounding the anxious guitars and sullenly detached vocals in their vacillating rhythmic grooves.

Title track ‘Simple Things’ starts with a deceptively simple intro before diving into a quirky, jagged groove that seems to change tempo and texture at will. (Check it out in Mary’s previous Video of the Moment feature here.) Similarly truncated and oddly measured phrases, combined with resolutely repetitive lyrics create a dizzying effect in ‘How Do I Feel’, illustrating the spinning merry-go-round mentioned near the end of the song. The echoing guitar melody behind the vocals in ‘No Idea’ eventually gives way to the thick bass groove as Tyler intones, “We’re just two arms with different gears / We’re just two hearts with different fears / We took our chances out of here / Well, how are we to know?”

The EP’s final track ‘I Don’t Ever’ is a slight change of pace in what is otherwise a very uniform set of songs. It features a lighter, upbeat rhythm that switches seamlessly between syncopations. The opening lyric lines “I don’t ever want to see your face again / I don’t ever want to every now and then” are exquisitely drawn out over the propulsive rhythm, but Tyler’s smoothly fluid vocals are shown off to their best advantage in the languid bridge, “I want to know / I want to see / When something keeps on turning me / What will be, will be, will be…”

The overall vibe of the ‘Simple Things’ EP is kept afloat by the energy and variety of its rhythmic grooves. The vocals and guitars set a deliberately subdued mood, never breaking their self-imposed restraint, and while the resulting affect of the EP is somewhat flat, Felt Tip have nonetheless established a strong basis for their sound.

7/10

Felt Tip’s EP ‘Simple Things’ is out on the 9th of June on Fierce Panda. The band played an EP launch at Madame Jojo’s in London on the 3rd of June, which they will follow with a short list of upcoming London shows, including the Camden Crawl on the 20th of June and an opening slot for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at the Scala on the 3rd of July.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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