Review of Dark Paradise Album by ILLLS

Noise is good. In fact it's just great. ILLLS seem to like it too; they may even live off the stuff. The Mississippi duo's debut 'Dark Paradise' is a wondrous cacophony of unrefined sounds; the majority is raw and far removed from 'over produced.' This is good to hear when we are bombarded with the fakery of some music (mainly chart-based), through ads, radio and our own listening (if you like that kind of thing) on a daily basis. Only ten seconds of this EP could be seen to have some heavy production to it, if you're being ridiculously picky. But that ten seconds that open 'Goods' make your brain spin with the harsh beat and overlapping string of 'la's. It just kicks in to both headphones and the brash strumming snatches its airtime back. Don't get jealous now.

ILLLS Dark Paradise Album

Oh actually 'Streetcars', (not named after Coronation Street's only cab firm as far as I'm aware) contains some alien rumblings to start. The Wibbles and wobbles of the unknown are only broken by the steady strums to pull us back to planet earth. ILLLS just wanna rock out, and rock out good. All six songs were recorded in half of the duo, Steven Ross's spare room/makeshift studio. It's no wonder the EP sounds so original and homegrown. The garage pop/rock label they embody sounds like a more assertive and booming version of Minnesota's Howler. The pair also shared the vocals, contributing 50% each, an interesting arrangement that is not obvious until you dissect the words and tones.

'Teeth' retains a simple riff throughout, accompanied by the pounds of the snare. Reflective question 'have you heard about yourself?' shows off the skill of leaping to differing pitches within each line. Similar pounds are recognisable in 'Bathroom Floor' along with a confident 'ooh look at me' guitar. The questionably seductive words 'She's there on the bathroom floor, still waiting for more' presents ILLLS' ability to produce a crowd favourite with curious lyrics like that. The massive crescendo ending may be a little too much for an opening song. We might still have some eardrums left to listen to the rest of their hard work if left until the finale. 'It Not Me' dodges the blame with an attempt of an 'epic' chorus but with added 'la's (again), it's hard to take seriously. A massive finale would've bumped it's rep up a lot.

'Where Will It Grow' feels so tender with a sudden delicate vocal, a change from the usual dignified racket. But they just can't resist and two minutes in they slam back to their norm with some riffs suffering from some sort of spasm. ILLLS are making music here that just sounds so natural and unprocessed; it feels like you're squeezed in that spare room with them. Though those rare tinkered ten seconds are pretty intriguing, maybe a few more in future, as long as they aren't too laboured.

Hayley Fox

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