Sunday 30 December 2012

By Million Wires - Letters To The Absent

Album review by

When a band tells you that listening to latter-day Radiohead was the spark that ignited their formation it's best not to get your hopes up. Love them or hate them, there is only one Radiohead, and whether going for the glitchy, abstract sounds of their post 'OK Computer' output or the immense power, passion and innovation of their mid-nineties phase, the results are rarely more than a watered-down imitation. Polish group By Million Wires are better than that though, much better, and the reason is simple: they've set out to create inspiring, well-thought-out music using their own ideas. Just like their heroes, they're may take the lead from different bands but they're not copying anyone.

Debut album 'Letters To The Absent' feels like an accomplishment and is a very strong set of tunes. Unless you were told, then Thom Yorke's mob wouldn't be the first band you'd think of when hearing By Million Wires, and this is in part down to the female vocal but also their music drawing as much from early 90s psychedelia as anything else. The chiming guitars have a touch of the Nick McCabe about them. Despite their nationality, all songs besides 'Fili┼╝anki' and 'Nic' are sung in English, although they're often commanding enough that it would make little difference what language they chose. This is no slight on the lyrics by the way, more an example of how the songs are good enough to transcend language barriers.

At eight tracks long 'Letters To The Absent' could really be considered a mini album. However, the stature of the songs that bookend this record give it the feel of a bigger work. Finishing with the towering instrumental 'Ketonall', they show us they can do skyscraping guitar psychedelia and post-rock with the best of them. It's maybe first track 'Minutes' that encapsulates them best, beginning with quietly ringing guitar and vocals, it's not too long before it blossoms into something far bigger and more impressive, those guitars being allowed to roam freely over the top of everything and toying with shoegaze and dreampop. They may not be new tricks but they're very good ones and By Million Wires deserve to be taken seriously in their own right.

By Million Wires' website

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