Monday 30 September 2013

After The Ice - Thick Snow Magic EP

EP review by

Y'know what? I don't think (well, I never really have) that there's any kind of crisis surrounding guitar-based music. The lack of non-stadium guitar bands in the chart is simply down to the way the charts are now compiled, and if (as has been suggested) YouTube plays eventually count towards chart placings then it will only make matters disastrously worse. The music industry is undoubtedly going through what, in footballing terms, would be a period of transition. Soon (and it's happening already) the top 40 will be less relevant than ever. The appetite for rock and other guitar-led forms of music is as high as ever, but less teens download "indie" type music as ringtones because the latest crop of puppets are much better designed for that. There are bands and fans aplenty. Business rates and beer prices are hampering the live circuit and forcing smaller venues to close, so action is needed there. But for the music? Nope.

This debut EP from Paul Lisak's After The Ice has been some time coming, but the man shows determination. From a Franco-Russian background, Lisak grew up in London and formed this band a few years ago. Why the diatribe about guitar music at the start? Because After The Ice (Hamzah Bashir Khan and Tomek-Tomek completing the line-up) are unashamedly a rock band, they don't try and wrap it up any other way or use any fancy terms. They even have veteran producer Nick Tauber (Thin Lizzie, Marillion, Girlschool) at the helm, and you can unquestionably taste the classic rock in these songs, but there's a modern aspect too. 'Wake Up' is fuzz-rock mixed with grunge and even hard-rock. Lyrically they don't deal with the mundane either, usually preferring social commentary and political viewpoints. They hold nothing back and a few histrionics creep in, but it's not a turn-off. Because of the manner in which all involved go about making these songs, it works. 'Tea And Cake' is a touch more generic but with a punky edge; 'Mesmerised' is very classic rock in its sound but doesn't come close to any Darkness-style parody, the honesty is what makes these songs tick. You'll hear every one of these aspects on the title-track, although it's perhaps the weakest song here. 'Think Snow Magic' might be a little conventional for our usual coverage, but they deserve a doff of the cap for doing what they want and doing it well.

After The Ice's website

Buy the EP

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