The Pattern Theory
In which a bunch of unassuming Music College students serve up a four-course meal of unashamedly tight instrumental jazz grooves and subtle post-rock workings. There's an innate understanding of dynamic and flow on display across these four tracks, with clearest reference points focused towards Tortoise and Beefheart as dual guitars snake around each other between an inch-perfect rhythm section. Taken as a whole, the disc's ambiences take on a documentary quality, passing quietly but noticeably through distinct organic phases, as effortless in its purposeful agitation as a purring TGV trip from Paris to the Alps. Drop-outs and changes in tempo and time signature are handled beautifully throughout, all the more pleasing given that the band have only been together since last year. Opening track 'Lakes' melds every element together over four breathtaking minutes, wasting no time in establishing a nagging duo of hugely danceable riffs which drop off, pick up and twirl inside-out into a breezy lounge finish. Closing track 'Fields' drops the pace and ups the reverb from the outset as wistful guitars pick out some unidentifiable melancholy (despite one particular figure nudging disturbingly towards the intro to 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic') before everything lifts thrillingly a minute from home. Sandwiched in between, 'Cities' pulses with an hyperactive metropolitan bassline and syncopated rhythm while 'Trees' attains a hypnotic groove as those muted guitars pick out supple harmonising arpeggios.
One last round of applause must be saved for the production, with a mix just dry enough to allow each facet of the band's sound to stand out for the eager ear, before the listener lets himself drift off into the wholeness of it all. Really very lovely, all told.