Review of Ep#3 EP by Squrl

Cut Jim Jarmusch and he'd bleed a strangely evasive blue-black sludge that emits a low, magnetic hum. Somehow the moody, brooding director has managed to bottle this bodily emanation, team up with drummer Carter Logan and Vampire Weekend/Sleigh Bells engineer Shane Stoneback and lo, the resulting noise was named SQÜRL. If you've seen any of the no-wave pioneer's movies, you'll be familiar with his meticulous, blissful taste in music, as most memorably heard as a backdrop to rockstar vampire antics on the 'Only Lovers Left Alive' soundtrack collaboration with lute player and composer Jozef Van Wissem.

Squrl Ep#3 EP

The third and perhaps most rounded effort of three EPs, 'EP3' is a seamless, slow-moving, 25-minute homage to drone rock's finest and Jarmusch favourites. Boris and Sunn o))). Slow in pace, slow in taking root - to the extent where I had listened to doom-tempo track one 'First Time' three-and-a-half times without noticing a single play had elapsed - 'EP3' has all the qualities of a sewer recording with its endless echoes and barely discernible vocals, leaving a faint taste of metal on the tastebuds. For the ominous 'Black Swan', a pedal fuzzier than the Ohioan's own hair creates a deep, whumping riff that drags along Logan's stubborn, lethargic drum beat before a murmur akin to a vocal hook laments a woman's love in 'Francine Says'. Crackly parting shot 'Should I Go or Should I Stay' is less drone and more warped country-blues vinyl, with inconsequential lyrics about cheap guitars and cars and gently optimistic acoustic finger-picking.

'EP3' has no 'Pink Dust' hooks, but scratch deeper and add patience and the melancholy, energy-sapping stoner sloth music becomes the imaginary soundtrack to your own angsty, indie screenplay; whether it's lying in a Swinton-like trance staring at the swirling artex, or wandering gloomily through a Gottfried Helnwein exhibition. Jarmusch and genius may be lazy alliteration, but the man is adept at hijacking the mood and lulling the listener into melodramatic self-absorption.


Lauren James

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