Oubliette by Hiereophant is an EP of smartly written songs that straddle a lo-fi texture with some alternative rock, electronica and even hip-hop.
“Monsanto & Sons” opens the EP driven by acoustic guitar and sudden tempo shifts. There are elements of solo Lindsay Buckingham in the production and layering of instruments, which includes some surprise piano, fuzzy electric guitars and a bouzouki-like instrument. Some of the drum parts don’t always match up, but overall the song has a nice build with an epic guitar solo, and the lyrics are quite clever.
“Moon” slides between a 6/8 strum and some rubato moments sliding around the strings of the guitar. The vocals have some Thom Yorke falsetto moments to them and are supported by an ethereal organ. When the rest of the instruments drop in, there are some fantastic backing vocals, buzzing distorted guitars and pounding drums that propel the song along. It’s a good contrast of textures and executed well.
“This Is The Life” starts out as a jangle-y folk-pop song before moving into a halftime groove over a bowed bass tone. The song gets a bit sloppy towards the chorus, not quite lining up the guitars and drums which is a shame following the head bobbing moments of the previous sections. Some interesting reverbs, preverbs and panning make for an interesting sonic spectrum throughout, but not enough to let the song really take off.
“The Silence” is a beautiful intimate song initially based around a single acoustic guitar. Some Neutral Milk Hotel influences are evident here once the rest of the instruments enter, but again some of the shaky timing between the instruments make it hard for the song to really open up. There is certain trippiness to it, which is interesting, but the melody and chords are so interesting it would be nice to hear the song just truly lock in and soar.
The title track “Oubliette” closes the EP with some great guitar parts playing against each other. Here there is some interesting chain-like percussion, which makes for an interesting part and is a neat addition to the backdrop. The keyboard layers are clever and support the vocals in a smart way. The rap near the end is a surprise but performed well and the guitars groove well behind it.
Overall, there is a lot of promise in the songwriting. Some attention to shaping the grooves could benefit the songs a bit more and let them really take off and shine.
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