Glasgow three-piece Errors have come a long way since the band was initially formed as a bedroom electronic project in 2004. In just over a decade, they have gradually built on the critical success of their debut album, 2008’s It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, always looking to bring something new to the table. This culminated in their highly acclaimed third album, Have Some Faith In Magic, which was released in 2012.
It was the band’s most composed and confident record, with the every element very deliberate. The exact metronomic percussion running throughout the album – combined with a subtle increase in Stephen Livingstone’s vocals – suggested that Errors had finally found their feet and were more aware of what sort of band they wanted to be; certainly more so than they were when releasing their debut and 2010’s Come Down With Me.
That steady evolution continues on album number four – not counting 2012’s eight track mini-album New Relics – which has the unenviable task of trying to match and surpass Have Some Faith In Magic. The new LP, appropriately titled Lease Of Life, manages to do just that, though, building on the measured sound of its predecessor to deliver the band’s most cohesive and organic-sounding collection of songs.
Created in the Hebridean Isle Of Jura – the location where George Orwell wrote his famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four – Lease Of Life is the product of a band who are more assured in their craft than ever before. Kicking off with Colossal Estates, which glides along effortlessly on dream-like synths and progressive claps, it is clear from very early on that Errors are operating with a freedom that has only served to embolden their work.
This is demonstrated by the record’s epic seven-minute title track, which slowly develops, layer-upon-layer, as its warbling synths and intoxicating bassline come together to form a heady atmosphere. It is also the first occasion where Livingstone’s vocals are introduced, although they are so withdrawn it is hard to tell them apart from the instrumentation – something that becomes a theme throughout Lease Of Life.
Dull Care, which is one of two tracks featuring guest vocals from Cecilia Stamp, is another example of the fusion between vocals and instrumentation. It is a genuinely moving track, with Stamp’s ghostly vocals providing the perfect accompaniment to Errors’ use of sweeping synths and busy electronic fiddling. Her second appearance on Slow Rotor – arguably one of the album’s highlights – is equally enchanting, combining seamlessly with shimmering synths.
Elsewhere, New Winged Fire captures Errors at their most experimental, with the near six-minute track jolting in numerous different directions during its runtime. Beginning with a restless synth line and Livingstone’s echoing vocals, the song quickly picks up pace as it continues, with the clapped beat helping once more to push it along. If New Winged Fire only verges on delivering dancefloor worthy grooves, then the infectious Genuflection will make sure you get to your feet.
Following the highs of Genuflection, comes the far less impressive Putman Caraibe, which sees the band almost get lost in its expansive synths. Yet, in many ways, the penultimate track was always going to sound slightly disappointing when held up against the myriad of sounds contained within the record’s remarkable 13-minute closer, Through The Knowledge Of Those Who Observe Us, which serves to highlight the grand scale of Errors’ ambition.
It is a fascinating conclusion to a record that manages to repeatedly surprise throughout its duration. Despite the huge anticipation that preceded its release, Lease Of Life succeeds in being every bit as bold and accomplished as its much touted predecessor. Once again, Errors have vindicated the support given to them by Mogwai’s Rock Action label, which has helped them slowly grow into one of the most accomplished electro bands in the UK.