Split EP’s are a bit of a rarity these days, becoming an almost exclusive novelty for Record Store Days of recent years. It’s always a welcome sight then when we get the chance to see them released at other times during the year, and not just on the equivalent of Christmas for vinyl aficionados. It’s even more welcome when they’re as great as this one.
Dollhouse, a ‘neo kraut fuzz’ band hailing from England, and Mysteron, an ‘electronic psych pop’ act (also from England) have joined forces to bring us ‘Better than the Beetles’. Just a throwaway pun, or a cheekily-bold statement? Regardless of it’s intent, both parties involved have every reason to be confident in their ability, as the 4-track EP is an exciting peek into the future of psych/electronic pop rock.
On first track ‘Dawning and Rolling Around’, Dollhouse lay out a lazy rhythm, with elegant, reverberated guitars painting the luminous soundscape occupied also by front-man Zak Thomas-Akoo’s intrinsic vocal delivery. The band are, quite literally, rolling around, care-free and assured in their own sound. Their other contribution to the EP, live track ‘I Hate You’, sees them wake up from their slumber, attacking with a brilliant, staggering bass line, carrying Zak’s resentful cries of “Don’t ya know i hate you, baby?”. The song’s made even more memorable by the marvelous backing vocals on show here.
‘I Am an Animal Cannibal’ sees Mysteron take the reins, and very firmly. Drum machines, electronic beats and keys dominate proceedings here; Mysteron sound like how The Cramps might have sounded if they’d been born in the era of iPhones, and with a hunger for the synthesised. Another kind of hunger is evident in the lyrics, with lines like “I bite at the hand that feeds me” and “Some kind of animal, cannibal” creating a truly great and unforgettable chorus. ‘Freakoid For Your Love’ is the kind of song that you’d expect to find playing over a clip from a cheap Horror B-Movie, with it’s A-grade, spooky spaghetti western guitar riffs. It’s also reminiscent, vocally and instrumentally, of Iggy Pop’s most recent output, ‘Post Pop Depression’, and would fit very comfortably among the tracks on that album; a testament to Mysteron’s songwriting craft.
Don’t settle for what is normal. Go listen. Go buy it. Better than the Beetles? It’s certainly better than anything Wings ever did.
You can listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1clmmWd2lnlW9ulKOX1OxF
Buy the album here: https://dollhouseuk.bandcamp.com/album/better-than-the-beetles
Also check out our interview with Dollhouse from last month.