Iroha & Fragment.

Bittersweet EP

Written by: DR on 27/06/2010 23:28:54

Iroha are a three-piece consisting of Andy Swan (ex-Final), Diarmuid Dalton (ex-Jesu) and Dominic Crane; located in Birmingham, England. They share not longitude and latitude with one-man band Theirry Arnal, aka Fragment., as he is located in France, but instead they seem to have a mutual respect for one another's work, and have taken this further into the form of a collaboration, hence the "Bittersweet EP".

Maybe "Bittersweet" is the result of reciprocal influence, or perhaps it's the reason Iroha and Fragment. took a liking to the other's work in the first place, but, stylistically speaking they share common ground. Actually, if it wasn't for the attributed artists name in each track, you wouldn't be able to distinguish between them. Both play something between post-rock and post-metal that drones, endlessly; both have low-tuned guitars that deliberately boom, brood and echo, presumably in some attempt to come across as pensive; both incorporate subdued yet inaudible vocals, and both use cheap keyboards entirely inapposite because of their sought ethereal-vibe.

Grating electronics occupy the first thirty seconds of opener "Wish Upon A Star", before a reverberating bass line atop vibrating drums crash their way in. Vocals, that are perfectly audible for the first line, start; thereafter, awful production tricks render any hope of understanding the rest completely negated. Poor production is arguably at fault for the failings of "Bittersweet" as a whole. You get the feeling underneath it there are two acts capable of pulling off the ideas in the songs such as "Somethings Got To Give" and "Carved In The Sand", but, all musicianship nuance is lost beneath the smokey vocals, and the vibrating booms, that do so in a vain attempt at sounding heavier. Listen to the start of title track "Bittersweet", does that poorly executed buzz not sound like a vuvuzela?

If you make it to end still engaged, you'll notice the "Bittersweet" remix that closes this EP is the best song on offer. It's no coincidence the crushing bass side-steps for the synth to take a more prominent role; it's more uplifting and exciting than all of the previous tracks combined, and I'm scratching my head wondering why this route wasn't explored further. For the most part though, "Bittersweet" is rarely sweet and mostly bitter.


Download: Bittersweet (IF. Remix)
For The Fans of: Jesu
Listen: Iroha Myspace
Listen: Fragment Myspace

Release Date 16.06.2010
Denovali/Cargo Records

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