Can you judge an EP by its song titles? If the similarity in sound and track nomenclature between Adam Gnade and ambient sound-scapers such as Godspeed You Black Emperor and Silver Mount Zion are anything to go by, the answer is most definitely yes. Backed up by Oxford’s Youthmovies, the Americana experimentalist seems to have entered into a musical marriage made in heaven.
And this means, of course, that Honey Slides is a very good EP indeed. Behind the most homemade packaging we’ve seen this month lie five slices of beautiful, often minimal, trippy and blissed out harmonic experimentation that is worth every one of the 20 minutes of your life it will take you to listen to them.
Post-rock, alt-folkie and making great use of lyric samples, sometimes Gnade’s voice is completely unaccompanied by music (such as at the beginning of the fabulously titled Snake Lore, Part II: Hold Back The Flame, O Weary Friends!), sometimes he brings in folkish guitars. Sometimes, he just lets the electronics do all the work.
Gnade’s usual aim is to make music similar to the “sound of America”, from where he originally hails, but with Honey Slides written on tour in the UK and helped along by his English cohorts, there’s definitely a rave beat influence on some of the music.
The title track in particular, with its spoken-word top layer, recalls an American Mike Skinner at his most pranged, or a 21st Century Gil Scott Heron. It’s a sound familiar to anyone who’s ever walked home from an all-nighters round the back of Kings Cross. And every single one of the others is just as good.
In fact, this is an EP that sounds as if it was computer generated to be performed live at All Tomorrow’s Parties, late at night when all you want to do is sit on the slightly sticky carpet with your back to the wall breathing in the music as the world breathes with you.
Hint: He is on tour now. Get tickets. Off you go.