Well over two years since the release of their debut single ‘Duh,’ Afterbloom are back with the Lithic Sounds EP. Making use of strange, straightforward and totally out of this world noise, the West Midlands three-piece have spent the past two years crafting and honing their music into a masterfully made EP, which I’m sure is going to raise a few eyebrows. With influences ranging from the dishevelled punk owed to The Pixies to the warped psychedelia era of The Beatles, the band make use of sludgy, dirty sounds and production to hold their catchy melodies together.
Opening with ‘Lithic Sounds;’ the title track, we are thrown right into the world of massive riffs, scrawling overlapping guitars and huge but subtle melodies. The vocals overall really stand out in spite of the calculated nonchalant manner in which Isaac Hirshfield Wight has become synonymous with, and adds a snarl of cynicism to the dredgey subject matter. A lo-fi slacker anthem for the disillusioned and disenchanted for sure.
‘Sticky’ follows and shows us howling guitars whilst putting on their best Pixies impression. Catchy, simple hooks rest on top of a loose bassline and heavy drums, a versatile yet direct track that gets to the punch fast and never let’s go. Kicking into life on ‘Opaque’ is a fast paced stampede of sound, with vocals crushed underneath. Catchy and melodic yet simple and hypnotising.
With classic warped guitar tones and a laid back feel, ‘Scrawl’ shows the band at the height of their pop sensibilities. Despite the underlying bark of the humdrum machine, this song sees the band at their most charming, most accessible, radio friendly version of themselves. The most endearing aspect of this song and the EP in general, though, has to be the way that they use space to create massive bubbling sounds and highlight key features differently with strange tones and production without overdoing it. In this case, less is definitely more and Afterbloom use this mantra to great effect.
The heady, potent ‘Second Coming’ closes the EP in spectacular grungey fashion and draws a thick, musky curtain over Lithic Sounds. With a dark and sluggish riff which makes use of some great meaty tones, this song draws the listener into the bleakness of Hirshfield Wight’s imagination and imprisons the senses in an almost trance like state before the sudden abrupt ending which leaves the stomach half full.
Afterbloom have created an unimaginably messy yet diverse and subtle EP, which throws back to punk and grunge mixed with psychedelic elements, and executed perfectly—no wonder Lithic Sounds was two years in the making. It seems that the three piece know how to utilise great, simple songwriting accompanied with precise yet messy arrangements, making for fantastic and intriguing repeated listening.