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A review of...

Dilate by Vessels

Dilate
Label:
Date: 
March 2, 2015
Writer: 
Adam Millard
8.0

The gist

Transformed Leeds five-some unleash their new sound

The music

Although it seems like Vessels have arrived in 2015 as a perfectly formed electro act, the transition has been more subtle in the four years since their last album Helioscope hit the shelves. They started as a perfectly acceptable guitar band, with a reasonably promising take on the Post Rock genre, but they've evolved into something much more interesting. By taking some time out, concentrating on remixes, honing their live sound and DJing around Leeds the band have clearly used this experience as a testing ground, saving their best work for this record. It's a form of electronic music that incorporates healthy doses of prog and euphoric rock (Errors have been doing similar things for a while now, but Vessels have eclipsed even their fine work), but given those genres mentioned it sounds surprisingly grounded. This is possibly because it's an organic record at heart. These musicians aren't computer geniuses or musical virtuosos, they're experimenting with this stuff, and learning how to do it gradually. That's not to say it's like an early New Order LP, Vessels have certainly got a knack of making things sound polished, but they aren't showing off either. The first three tracks on Dilate are what will probably suck you into their world, all three ("Vertical", "Elliptic" and "Echo In") are cool and creative dancefloor fillers in the making. You get the feeling that Vessels are a new rival to Justice as kings of elegant stadium electro, the difference is that all of this music was played live, which might make for a more hands-on live show. The album takes a breather at its half way point with "As You Are" a trip hoppy number featuring guest vocalist Isolde which is reminiscent of peak level Massive Attack, and a total departure from anything else on this record. Once they've had their rest they're back to banging out pacey, static laced anthems with hints of ambiance and a whole load of class.

Listen to

"Glass Lake" - an absolute beast of a tune. Begins as a dream-like twinkling lullaby and quickly switches to a lofi thumper before morphing into an acid house anthem.

"On Your Own Ten Toes" - this is one of those albums where you could pick any number of tracks as a highlight depending on your current mood. This final tune seems to straddle a wealth of genres though, taking in some jazz drumming, ambient loops and beefed up Chemical Brothers style rhythms, building everything up, peaking, and then letting you down gently at the end.