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On|Off|Man: Giant Backsteps

Bands can't win, can they? Follow a well trodden genre path and add nothing new and everyone declares them copyists. Meld genres and offer something a little different and someone like me comes along and goes, "Pah! I don't want to listen to that" and unfortunately that is the curse I am about to bestow on On|Off|Man; their Giant Backsteps debut taking elements of Rock and Prog and pinning Dub Step beats and samples and whooshes and whoops underneath. Yes that may sound quite Muse-y and I can handle that band's Dubiances, yet O|O|M take it a (dub) step further, with their approach being to start from the Dub and work their way towards the Prog-Rock. Slabs of keys stab, sludgy synths and beats drive everything else that hitches on for the ride and to be fair there is quite a lot in the passenger compartment; clever synths, pings of piano and swathes of atmosphere ladled on, but with care and precision, to this instrumental workout.

"Nightmare Knockers" which ups the guitar quotient and unleashes a dash of dextrous drumming, still has electronics at its core, yet there's a more obvious Rock bent to the results, and spoken multi lingual sections also help build the atmosphere. In this guise I can see where On|Off|Man are headed, with a Dub meets Ozric Tentacles making surprising sense. Yet I have to admit that try though I might to take my admiration for what is attempted elsewhere and turn it into enjoyment, I just can't.

If you're reading this and thinking, man this reviewer is unadventurous (I'd disagree, but then I would, wouldn't I!?), then maybe these Giant Backsteps are for you and, to be honest, for a band brave enough to try something a little different, I hope it is.

Six tracks and a brief running time means that Giant Backsteps doesn't quite know if it is an album or an EP, yet truth be told, while I admire what's being attempted here, I find struggling to this release's conclusion to be a chore.

Track Listing
1. Knox
2. The Core
3. Screaming Windows
4. Nightmare Knockers
5. Dichotomy
6. A Virtual Card For You
7. Giant Backsteps

Added: July 31st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: On|Off|Man on Bandcamp
Hits: 1693
Language: english

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