Tate Eskew

Semiotics

Written by: DR on 30/07/2012 15:18:06

As I very slowly work my way through my promos left over from 2011, I realise that there is no excuse for leaving them this late, especially when they are as solid as "Semiotics" is. From Nashville, Tate Eskew seemingly plays every instrument on this, his third release, and impressively at that.

Tate Eskew is likely to draw such tags as 'ambient' and 'indie', and rightly so, as his music has both the floatiness and directness often associated with such tags. Although you can hear hear such bands as The Smiths and Pavement in places, there's also a lot of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and Youth Lagoon. Landing somewhere between accessibility and subtlety, "Semiotics" generally succeeds in its goal to be warm enough from the first impression to keep you interested, and then offering more and more as you listen further.

Despite having a minimalist feel to the production, a big reason why "Semiotics" suceeds is because of the layered production. In a song such as "I'm Taking Over", layered vocals are stacked atop walls of distorted guitar sound admist whirling electronic ambience. The chorus is simple yet effective in that it draws you in immediately, but it's the cascading instrumental closing that makes the song. The instrumental side of Tate Eskew is flawless, to the point where instrumental offerings such as opener "Galesburg Drive" and "Skinner Road" are arguably the finest songs on the record.

Far from perfect, "Semiotics" has its missteps. The detached vocals in "Catapult it Through Advertisement" are more misplaced than atmospheric, while the punk-orientated "The Mechanics of Remembrance" is too jarring between the sluggishly paced "Robot" and 80s pop-ish "Comet Is Closer". Still, "Semiotics" is mostly an enjoyable listen, made all the more impressive when you consider there's only one man behind it.

7

Download: Galesburg Drive, Skinner Road
For The Fans of: Pavement meets The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 04.10.2011
Functional Equivalent Recordings

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