Monday, 24 March 2014

Review: F.O.E.S - Ophir EP (Self-Released)

Liverpool's F.O.E.S have an excellent pedigree – drawn from bands like ConnectingFlight, In Casino Out and Always the Quiet Ones, among others, this new project, while projecting post-hardcore sensibilities live, takes a more atmospheric tack on record.

There are still the hints to bands such as At The Drive-In and Yourcodenameis:milo that were introduced with their first single 'Ruin Lies in the Bow & the Sword', but writ large on Ophir are the post-rock inflections of Oceansize and Aerogramme. 'The Writing On The Wall' and 'The Four Of Oxblood' alternate between a sharp dynamic shift from loud modern rock in the vein of shouty, jaggy early Biffy Clyro to almost a mainstream radio-friendly alt rock touch with earnest, self-assured vocals. When the band cuts loose during a middle eight or an outro, the effect is infectious. James Lorenzo's drum parts always claw the most they can out of every situation, and the quality of musicianship consistently shines.

Single 'Ningyo' starts off as a more meditative post-rock-lite ballad before exploding from the speakers when the chorus kicks in. Again, the rhythm section is tasked with keeping the energy levels up while the guitar heads off into more angular territory, but the effect is thrilling nonetheless. 'The First Rook To Flee As The Thunder Rolls In' combines all their competing sensibilities in a slow burning track that builds to a passage counterpointing screaming vocals with quieter, melodic guitars, before finally breaking loose and crashing to earth with an ending that really does deserve the 'epic' epithet.

With such a fully-formed release only running to EP length, the prospect of a full F.O.E.S album is an exciting one indeed.

Words: Alex Lynham

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