Errors - New Relics
A 'mini-album' is a strange thing for a band to release or, in fact, to call a release. Especially as, at 8 tracks and over 30 minutes in length, New Relics would warrant full album status to anyone with better things to do with their time than worry about whether an album is long or important enough to be called an album. Nevertheless, 'mini-album' is what they're calling it. Glaswegian boys, Errors, are also keeping up with the unconventional theme by releasing their latest offering not only on all the usual digital and physical formats, but also on VHS, accompanied by a series of somewhat avant-garde moving image art works by various artists.
But is the music interesting too? It certainly doesn't quite stick to what we've heard from Errors before. Granted, there are familiar synth sounds here, and the same unintelligible might-be lyrics floating around from the band's later releases, but there's a lot that's different here too.
'Pegasus', the last song on this min-album of sorts, quivers into existence with mind-melting, side-to-side panning that, if you're wearing headphones, bounces around the mind like a spacey electronic orchestra and continues to build into waves of head-bobbing electronic mastery. It's a whole lot of lovely.
'Amoeba Glass'' sunshine synth-sounds, meanwhile, feel almost Caribbean and the track draws comparisons to the likes of Sweden's Korallreven. Elsewhere, 'Gros-Bon-Ange' functions as a minute and a half of wavering, sparse interlude, before 'White Infinity', a track that's sound is best described by its own name, continues to pull us away from reality.
In the past, we might have associated Errors with Battles, Three Trapped Tigers, Civil Civic, et al. Anything that's powerful, beat driven and math-rock/post-rock. You'd be pretty hard pressed here though, to compare New Relics to Battles, or call it much to do with rock. Regardless, we have to commend them for changing direction, and not taking the easy route.
If we're looking at New Relics as separate from previous Errors' material, then, it's a skyscraper-high swirling mist of electro chill. This is by no means music for a 170BPM, salacious dance floor, but a collection of spacious soundscapes full of slick synths and slow moving beats. Music to wear your slippers and drink whisky at 3am to.
If we do want to compare New Relics to Errors' older material, however (and, well, I'm going to), there's a question here which loudly (or, actually, not at all loudly) begs an answer: Where have the drums gone? It's no exaggeration to say that the power-hungry, dance-inducing, interwoven beats were one of the major characteristics on an Errors track which made them so compelling. Not that this isn't compelling, but the drums we hear on New Relics are much smoother, and work more as a backbone to the floating walls of synths than an attention grabbing forefront to the songs. It's an aspect of the band that's hard not to miss.
Overall, it's an album (or whatever you want to call it) which will wash over you with spacey sounds as relaxing as a late-night, sand-between-the-toes trip to the beach and for that, it's hard to fault. But if you were ever in love with the Errors who could make a scar on the ear drums with the power of their time-signature chopping, crashy-tight rhythms, be prepared to feel a little pang of nostalgia.