PostPrior: Touched Pilot

VA: New Faces

Ghostly's latest digital-only EPs wend divergent yet equally compelling paths. PostPrior (Ben Mullins and Michael Kuzmanovski) is the phoenix that's arisen from the ashes of the now-defunct trio Midwest Product while New Faces spotlights five artists of significant promise.

Aside from its talent for inventive vocal hooks and multi-faceted arrangements, the beauty in PostPrior's sound is the duo's wickedly tight grooves; check out for evidence the serpentine funk that slides through the vocal-less breaks in “Climber” whose whistling melodies, spidery guitar lines, and lockstep bass-drums groove are as buoyantly springy as African highlife; the raucous swing with which the song ends is equally irresistible. Wholly different in feel, “Express” sounds like a vertiginous blend of Fear of Music and Lodger, with imaginative leaps bursting forth unexpectedly every few seconds. “Touch the Pilot” pairs a funky falsetto line with electro-swing while “ Sterling and Goulden” opts for string-laden electronic elegance. The songs' subject matter—topics range from Hollywood actor Elliott Gould to George Willig, who scaled the World Trade Center using homemade claws—is equally original. The wealth of ideas and imagination surpasses what one normally encounters on an EP; presumably time will tell whether the group (like sister Ghostly act Mobius Band) is able to extend that feat to album length.

Ingesting New Faces is like sampling five exquisite desserts of slightly different flavour and character, with each morsel sumptuous in its own unique way. “Me See,” a bouncy slice of jubilant ‘carnival pop,' finds JDSY packing a suitcase full of bleepy melodies and vocal syncopations into a mere two minutes. Wisp underlays crystalline synth billow with locomotive breaks in the oft-paradisiacal “Sounding.” Darker by comparison, The Reflecting Skin's “Year of the Knife” cloaks its thrusting schaffel rhythms in a panoramic haze of shoegaze splendour. Rounding out the 22-minute release, Manhunter's hot-wired handclapper “Body Double” pulsates with staccato acid-electro fever in a style that suggests a less industrial-oriented Kill Memory Crash while Benoît Pioulard's folk-chant “Little a Strongly More Grow I,” without question the most anomalous of the five, wouldn't sound out of place on his kranky full-length Precis, even if the tune sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom (with no bass presence to speak of, the vocal and guitar sound tinnier than they otherwise might). More accurately, the EP's five artists and PostPrior constitute promising new faces.

January 2007