Review of Cut(s) EP by Ex Libras

Cut(s) is an acoustic EP from South London trio Ex Libras. They have taken the drums and distortion from 5 songs from their debut album, adding loops, samples and Ruth Campbell's cello skills to create what they call a 'blood relative' to last year's Suite(s). The appeal of Ex Libras compared to, so many in the music industry at present, is that their quite obviously in it for the love of it. Stripping your own work to its core and re-presenting it deserves a lot of credit but managing to sound like Starsailor and yet also brilliant deserves a certificate on the fridge.

Ex Libras Cut(s) EP

The musical vocal point of the EP is 'loopcoustica,' a term the band use to describe the layers of samples married with their acoustic guitars. It is not perhaps a new genre as they suggest but it is exquisitely done. The electronic side to opener 'For Us, For Me,' a version of single 'Underachiever,' evokes local neighbours Mount Kimbie with gentle percussion and clicks creating an eerier backdrop for Amit Sharma to paint his haunting notes across. In contrast the formerly sensational original now sounds brash and in dire need of a haircut.

'Teenage Eyes,' formerly 'Phat Knickers,' uses similar flicks and clicks that combined with a looped key change create a frenzied paradox to Sharma's delicate voice. The operatic harmonies that close the piece, and it is a piece of music, wouldn't be out of place in a towering cathedral. A quick warning, the keys on 'There's Still Room For Love' ('Radar') are so peaceful yet beautifully constructed the urge to hug strangers and run naked through stations may become to much to hold back. That's probably not the image the band were looking for..

Ex Libras are, and will continue to be, one of those bands that are celebrated by those in the know but ignored by the majority. Get yourself into the former category as there's plenty of room down the front.

Alastair Thompson

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