There’s nothing as frustrating as being late to the party: the food’s been eaten, most of the drink is gone, and all the interesting people have paired off and disappeared. It’s happened to me a few times and repetition doesn’t make it any less galling. So to receive the second Eaststrikewest album, “We’re Important And We Keep The City Running. We’re Important, We’re Important, We’re Important”, only to be informed that it will be their last is something of a shame.
Combining indie, shoegaze and post rock to create an individual sound, Eaststrikewest have produced a fine album with much to recommend it. Being a six piece means rich instrumentation which uses the staples of drums, bass, guitar and vocals along with keyboards and strings, the latter not always at the top of every band’s list of must-haves; and it’s all the better for it.
What’s immediately striking is the lightness of touch: post rock can be very dense at times, a challenging wall of sound for the listener. “We’re Important…” is a somewhat lighter affair, given its Indie leanings. Similarly, long compositions are eschewed in favour of shorter, punchier and more immediately melodic songs, while still maintaining an atmospheric, multi-layered feel.
Vocals sound not unlike a plaintive Chris Martin, but with infinitely more interesting songs. Melody is variously carried by vocals, guitar and strings, providing a variation on the usual interplay between band members.
‘Twisting Muscles’ utilizes jangly, indie guitars before segueing into heavier, post rock passages. Violins are prominent and add a real twist to the band’s sound. Use of a quiet/loud dynamic adds extra emphasis to the more strident passages. ‘Must Not Sleep, Must Warn Others’ is built on a train-like rhythm over which is laid the melody, strings and guitar effects both adding drama to the proceedings. Anyone who remembers the shuffle beat of the Manchester sound of the early ‘90s will find a comforting familiarity in this song. ‘Marionettes’ builds effectively, using layer upon layer before reaching its crescendo. ‘Waking From Comas’ is a guitar-driven song which takes the pace and the sound down a notch. The album finishes on a bitter sweet note, ‘With One Last Breath’ which features the line ‘We play on, we stay strong.’
“We’re Important…” is only the band’s second album (“Wolvves” was their first), so the back catalogue is relatively small, which is a pity because it’s engaging and enjoyable. It’s good to come across a band where song writing and ideas carry equal weight, where melody is key and where the atmosphere is at times quite moving. And who knows: perhaps we will hear more from Eaststrikewest in the future. For now, “We’re Important…” stands as a quality release from a genuinely good band.