And So I Watch You From Afar

The Letters EP

Written by: DR on 28/04/2010 18:40:51

Love is often the catalyst for many artists and their work. For bands, it can inspire inspire a great song (or just any song, in the case of Lionel Richie), or album, and sometimes even a name, as in the case of this quartet from Belfast. See, it was a love letter that gave them their convuluted yet ridiculously awesome name: And So I Watch You From Afar. Seriously, how do you read that name and not remember it? The awesome-ness doesn't stop there though. Ohhh no. They released a few EPs, a belter of an eponymous debut LP, and supposedly put on a fantastic live show to boot. This has led the British hype machine (thanks for the loaner phrase TL) to give them a blowjob at any and every opportunity, and such universal acclaim doesn't come easily for a band in a niche such as these are.

If you have already listened to ASIWYFA (I feel slightly guilty about shortening it) then you will know what to expect, but if you haven't, let me try and sum it up: it's like being punched in the face by 65daysofstatic. ASIWYFA have taken that unconventional nature of sudden tempo shifts, two guitarist going all-out and idea after idea crammed into each song that makes 65dos so great. Despite a heavy influence from that band, they are not a rip-off, not by any means. The dual-guitar attack is noiser and heavier, suggesting possible metal influences; the drummer is more frantic and the overall approach is to perform at a higher, and more in your face, tempo. Take "S Is For Salamander": it starts out with one guitar chugging out a riff for a few seconds, then a second guitar comes in doing it's own thing before a thumping bass and driving drums join the frenzy. That initial riff is then repeated throughout the song, at slightly varying tempos, except for when they go off on one of their tangents which sounds almost improvised. Of course, it wouldn't be ASIWYFA if they didn't surge towards a climactic flourish at the end. The two songs in the middle "D Is For Djano The Bastard" and "B Is For B Side" are pretty much more of the same, both unwilling to hold anything back (duh). "K Is For Killing Spree (An Ode To)" closes the albums in a slightly different manner. It opens with a steady build up, but then everything gets a bit manic, prog-rock style. It all quietens down, allowing the axe-wielders to briefly flirt with distortion, until they stride back onto familiar belligerent ground.

"The Letters EP" is a four-track reminder that And So I Watch You From Afar are still around, and in that time they assure you that they, or indeed their talent, aren't about to go anywhere soon, whilst also managing to get you uber-excited at the prospect of a second LP. Sure, they aren't conquering much ground that they haven't already, but why should they feel the need to? What they're dong certainly isn't broke, and therefore does not require fixing.


Download: S Is For Salamander, K Is For Killing Spree (An Ode To)
For The Fans of: 65daysofstatic, God Is An Astronaut, If These Trees Could Talk, Maybeshewill
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 10.02.2010
Smalltown America Records

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