There is No Escape by Burden LimbsRelease date: September 6, 2019
Label: Glasshouse Records
Debut EP from London’s Burden Limbs, There is No Escape brings four tracks of clammy emotional drama set to a wounded panoramic roar. First track ‘Shallow Grave’ opens with a series of blunt, forceful crashes that suggests a fondness for later Swans. It’s joined by a sweeping drone melody that haunts the track’s churning dirge, opening it out to a wide screen swing and carrying Chad Murray’s vocals to some fiery yelling. Murray calls what they do ‘miserable bastard music’ which suggests something darker, more drained and insular to me, although it’s not exactly rainbows and fluffy bunnies around here. The band prefer ‘Jank’ which has a more abrupt ring but doesn’t really do it either. Adjacent to and most probably influenced by post rock, post metal, psych and noise rock, it isn’t quite any of them.
In a move that some of you will no doubt perceive as appalling hipster nonsense There is No Escape is being released as a download code stitched into the label of a t-shirt bearing a slightly unsettling close up of the inside of someone’s mouth. Minty fresh. This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone doing it quite this way but I must admit, I like the idea. How many people buy cassettes releases and don’t even have a cassette player do you think? Because cassettes are lovely objects but they’re also rubbish, and you can’t play them on your phone. If you must have a totemic physical item to accompany your music why not wear it instead of leave it in the case gathering dust while you listen to the digital files anyway? Not that it matters.
‘How Many Times Must I Reset?’ seems to be the lead track here, a rolling panic attack that peaks on squalls of noise but brings in some nice stop-start dynamics when you fear it might be running off the rails. ‘Hypochondriac’ kicks in on thumping drums and builds to a clamourous finale but is perhaps the weakest of the four tracks.
Closing things out ‘Burden Limbs’ starts with a minute of atmospheric guitar drone before switching to a steady clang. Or jank, maybe. Bands with songs with the same name as the band, something odd about it isn’t there? ‘Burden Limbs’ is not a crap song they wrote when they started out but then decided to keep the name type situation. It sounds like a set closer. About three minutes in the arrival of drums and a chorus of sickly keyboards turn it into a nightmare march. It feels both unable to go on and as if it will never end, legs of lead trudging the dark and miserable road. Which, given the titles of both the song and the EP seems entirely appropriate. As it staggers on towards the seven minute mark and you think it might be about to outstay its welcome it abruptly slumps to the ground. There’s a static hiss, a high end whine which you notice has been there the whole time, in the back of your head. There is No Escape is a murky din, claustrophobically pressing in on you, alleviated by hooks and flashes of melody in the distance that draw you and the songs along.