Adding vocals to pop music is not usually something to write home about for most bands. For Errors, who have been described as being post-rock or post-electro since their inception, it certainly seems to be something that the band are quite keen to highlight. The fact that Errors’ Steev Livingstone describes the addition of the vocals to the band’s sound was “intended that they should be treated as another instrument” hints at Errors’ post-whatever dynasty. Normally, it just isn’t an issue – particularly when making a pop leaning album as Have Some Faith In Magic has been somewhat misleadingly proclaimed as being. Whilst Have Some Faith In Magic is most certainly Errors’ most pop-tinged effort so far, it’s more of a faint hue than an all out dancefloor bothering hit fest.
For those balking at the concept of Errors’ songs having vocals or dabbling in the shallow end of Pop, there’s little to worry about. There are no massive choruses or complex lyrical structures to be found here just finely crafted nuances and delicate balances all lovingly pieced together with a watchmaker’s precision.
It’s the nuances that serve as something of a double edged sword for Errors. Make no mistake, Have Some Faith In Magic is wonderfully deep and entrancing, but it does take time to find its way into the consciousness and establish itself. Although there are strong melodies to be found in the smoke-like tracts of many of the songs, they are fleeting and almost impossible to grasp. It’s possible to listen to the whole album, reach the end, and not be able to remember anything about it whatsoever.
Ordinarily this would be and indicator of a poor album, but while it’s playing Have Some Faith In Magic is a joy. The opening statement of Tusk is perhaps the most forceful few minutes on the album with a set of thumping guitar stabs punctuating the tinkling keyboards. From there it develops into a dated but glacial motif that soars beautifully before diving behind the rumbling drums and emerging once again from the tumult. Earthscore’s undulating bass figure, ceremonial drums and Gregorian chant married to some ethereal electro patterns provides the basis for what is probably the most effective moment on the album. The combination of melody and atmosphere is perfectly judged, even though it diverts through a mid-section cribbed from the theme tune to Knight Rider.
Magna Encarta finds the point at which the full on euphoria of an all-nighter reaches that chilled out calm before the final push to death, glory and a ferocious hangover. The hypnotic swell of the vocals drifting through the ether is rudely interrupted by an incessant keyboard figure and a squall of raucous guitar noise which insists that any notions of slumber be put off in favour of some last minute frugging.
In an attempt to temper fevered brows, Blank Media is a much calmer affair with its ’80s-influenced electro coupled with some quite lovely spectral vocals drifting across the mix. Pleasure Palaces heads back towards the dancefloor, albeit in understated 8-bit disco mode but before the tempo hits boiling point it is followed by The Knock’s lumbering ghostly beeps, squelches and somnambulant exposition. Cloud Chamber’s peculiar vocoder vocals and eurotrance sum up the album perfectly. A smart amalgam of melody, ephemeral tones and motifs, it is utterly spellbinding.
The magic of this album is its transient nature. What seems so alive, essential, and laden with hooks disappears within seconds of the final note, leaving not a trace in the memory. As frustrating as it might be, it guarantees a return to the start to begin the journey all over again.