EP Corner: Fixtures – Shades

UnderSong showcases the EP that’s been blowing us away this week.

Fixtures are a math rock foursome from Bath whose sophomore EP, Shades, is released on Monday 9th July 2012 and follows on from the exquisite Willow EP. 'Common Courtesy' was unveiled as a free download two weeks ago as a precursor to Shades' release. I spoke to Fixtures while the recording for Shades was going on, and they noted that they weren’t going to release it until it was perfect. They are clearly a band of their word.

Shades opens up with '//'. A deceptive opener that lulls you into a false sense of security with a relaxing elevator music-style introduction before the electronic pulses build upon themselves and an almighty crash of drums pounds furiously against the subtle and delicate loops that underpin the song.

'Infinite' leaves you no time to recover as complex riffs and shifting time signatures unsettle the listener before the layered vocals wash over the music and resonate within you. The pounding conclusion of Infinite packs energy and vibrantsy behind soaring vocals and a sudden end leaves you craving more.

'Sculpture Culture' satisfies that need though, a more vocal led track it’s fast, it’s furious and it’s brilliant. There are elements of familiarity throughout the song, yet it’s fresh and branches out into unwalked territory. Time signatures are tossed around like a cow in a tornado and intelligent breakdowns give the song a real feeling of pace and direction.

'Samson' is the final track on Shades and it would seem that Fixtures are determined to leave a lasting impression on you. Vocals are pushed into new territories and are forced to take on new roles as they really drive the track forward, underpinned by ebbing guitar loops and thumping drum movements. Samson has a false end, but then attacks the listener with an epic and intense last stand that is as passionate as it is fantastic. Every element of Shades is crammed into this final moment and multiplied by four to create a fitting conclusion to a stunning piece of work.

Every single note on Shades finds its mark. It’s an EP that’s been meticulously put together with every detail of the music reverberating throughout your being as Fixtures transport you through a math rock odyssey. It’s music that is deep and complex with many little twists and turns buried within the mass of the beast, yet it’s accessible and enjoyable at every level. It’s a really clever piece of music and one that’s been created with flair and brilliance.

Ambitious yet grounded, Fixtures are a band who have found their sound, and are now filling it out in all directions, pushing themselves as hard and as far as they can. I have every faith that an awful lot of people are going to love this EP and that the boys in Fixtures have got something special here. It’s an EP that you need to hear, and luckily I don’t need to tell you to buy it, because the music does that for me. Here’s to the next phenomenal chapter in the Fixtures journey.

Available from http://fixturesbsp.bandcamp.com/