Living With Eating Disorders
White Like Snow EP (Something To Listen To)
~review by Uncle Nemesis
Here we have the first proper release from Living With Eating Disorders - there were a couple of promo CD-Rs going around before this - and the first recordings of any sort to feature the full band. I confess I’m somewhat taken aback by the, er, minimalist art concept (frankly, I don’t think there was any need to interpret the title of the EP *quite* so literally), but once you’ve got behind the anonymous visual non-identity, you’ll discover music here that digs its claws into your psyche in a way that could only be Living With Eating Disorders.
‘Lullaby’, the lead track here, slinks out of the speakers with a tentative grace. Andrea’s voice is mixed close, pulling the listener in, while the music maintains a subtle, brooding, presence in the background. The power of this song is all in the lyric: there’s no need for avant-rock histrionics here, although Living With Eating Disorders are no slouches in that department when they have a mind to be, as we shall see a little later on. ‘Arm’ maintains the mood, gliding in with a deceptively fluid feel, and then building up with careful precision throughout, with the drums, set way back in the mix, hinting at hidden reserves of power.
And then, at last, it’s time to take the brakes off and slam the hammer down. ‘Horsemilk’ squeals and squalls and rips and stamps its way into the party, the guitar screeching like fingernails down a window pane. The song kicks itself into overdrive, the drums an implacable crunch and thud, the bassline shouldering its way through the tune like a skinhead in a crowded pub. Andrea’s vocal rises from a narrow-eyed accusation - ‘There’s something darkness can’t compete with in your soul’ - to a broken-glass caterwaul - ‘You give me pain I cannot dull!’ The song winds itself up to a tightly knotted climax and then eases to a halt, all passion spent.
Some remixes follow on. ‘Horsemilk’ turns up again, deconstructed and fed through a mangle along with what sounds like a bucket full of malfunctioning transistor radios, a collection of bashed-up beats gangs up on ‘Arm’, and then, the cherry on the cake, a gorgeously warm, smooth, smoochy reggae take on ‘Lullaby’, complete with a delicate muted trumpet stepping neatly through the rhythm. This is a wonderfully sympathetic treatment of the song, the rhythm wrapping itself around Andrea’s haunted vocal like a reassuring relative.
Living With Eating Disorders aren’t in the business of making accessible alternorock. They probably couldn’t care less about getting airplay on Zane Lowe’s evening slot on Radio One, or the XFM drivetime show (much as I suspect their record label would rather like those events to come about). They’re exploring their own caliginous, nebulous, mysterious and often just plain odd world. This EP gives a little glimpse inside, and I’ll bet it’ll be enough to tempt you - cautiously - further in.
LWED official website: http://www.livingwitheatingdisorders.com
LWED's label: http://www.somethingtolistento.com
A LWED fan site: http://www.the-cradle.co.uk
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to