Drop the Fear – S/T EP

It’s funny how you can discover new bands sometimes, thanks to the Internet. Links pages allow you to play a form of Six Degrees of Separation, tracking from one band’s page to another, listening to audio samples until you find something you like. That’s how I discovered Drop the Fear, a band that defies description but whose unique sound immediately drew me in.

Mixing shoegaze, industrial, trip-hop, and electronic rock, it’s easy to draw comparisons between Drop the Fear and Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Chapter House, and maybe even Massive Attack, but this band doesn’t really sound like any of those bands. Layers of lush guitars mix with pulsing electronic beats and beautiful female vocals to create something immediately pleasing and extraordinarily vivid.

“Edge of the Universe” starts off with a laid-back yet intricate vibe. The pulsing beat mixes nicely with layered guitars and the lead singer’s sultry, angelic vocals. “Long Way From Home” is more somber and down-beat, mixing trip-hop with a kind of sultry rock feel, the beats deep and throbbing. The guitars come back in on “As Lonely As They Come,” light and melodic underneath a wall of thick guitars and intricate beats, plenty of effects added to the mix. The vocals are secondary on this stellar track. There’s some interesting samples used here too for a very spacey feel, and it leads into the album’s most climactic moment, a build of instrumentation and layered vocals. “When Memory Fails” is the last track on this too-short EP, and it has a lighter feel. The guitars and effects buzz away under a sultry beat and those great vocals.

It would be easy for a band like this to get lost in its own instrumentation, creating flowing beats and textured sounds for six or seven minutes, but this is not house music. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this played in a gothic rave or late at night at a house party, but this is more subdued, more moody, and the band never indulges much past the five-minute mark, showing remarkable restraint and keeping these songs perfectly cohesive.

This band seems to be as much visually oriented as musically, and the style of music is perfectly fitting the stark and moody graphical nature of the band’s Flash-infused website. In fact, the band’s debut full-length is planned as a DVD, leading me to believe it incorporates audio and visual, which I can’t wait to experience.