Errors have created something of a masterpiece with their second album, Come Down With Me. The 10 indie-rock-meets-electronica instrumentals presented here are infinitely complex and multifaceted, layered with rich precision, and delightfully infectious.
Catchiness, though, need not necessarily be precluded by simplicity. Errors create lush and challenging soundscapes, thick with dime-stop time changes and complex – and sometimes downright funky – grooves. The four pieces that make up this music are all equally deft, allowing neither rhythm nor melody to steal the proceedings. Talky samples (see the French dame who opens Supertribe) and found noises round things out nicely without seeming extraneous or forced.
There are some obvious comparisons to be made. Most excitingly, Errors resemble – though it’s possible that they may dispute this claim – an I Robot era Alan Parsons Project. They’re proggy, sure, but they’ve also got a keen pop sensibility. Speaking of prog, they also bear sonic kinship to Battles, and that other indie instrumental band, Explosions In The Sky. And one can’t wholly discount the apparent influence of their moody, post-rock label bosses Mogwai.
Opener Bridge Or Cloud? builds slowly through clicks and clacks (the shaking of a spray-paint can?) and droning organ mixed with burnt-wire static and Sigur R�s style music-box keys before erupting into a scratchy, funky synth backbeat-meets-Super-Mario thing.
Lead single A Rumour In Africa brings shades of Daft Punk disco into the mix, screaming with angular David Byrne-like guitars and breathy synth plinks. Supertribe sounds ripped from an ’80s film discotheque scene (for the sake of argument, we’ll say the Tech Noir scene in James Cameron’s The Terminator).
The Erskine Bridge is a welcome breather, clinking with windchimes and droning slowly. Sorry About The Mess is the most straightforward guitar indie-rock (sounding a bit laid-back and not unlike Pinback) on the album, and presents perhaps its most infectious hook.
Germany and Jalomo seem to be experiments in the farthest reaches of cheesy ’80s synthesizer tones, but against the decidedly un-glam, straight rhythm production (there’s no Phil Collins gate-reverb on the drums here, thanks) the cheese comes across as a necessary expression of a well-defined artistic vision, rather than a mere exercise in irony or avant-garde postmodernist pomposity.
In the final moments of the album, on the stunning closing track Beards, Errors seem to finally let loose and allow their respective sounds to wander the corners, closing the album with a banging antithesis to the way it began.
Errors prove that vocals are not the only weapon of singability, and expand on their sound without getting too arty about it. Come Down With Me marries synth-prog stuff with guitar-driven indie rock in a way that comes across as equally smart and approachable. The achieved effect is something to behold.