Tuesday 21 January 2014

Space Fight - All Systems Wait

Album review by andy@thesoundofconfusion.com

Zzzzzzz *snore* zzzzzzz *snore* zzzzzzz *dribble* zzzzz....*topples off chair*

WHAT THE F...? Oh, err hello there...I wasn't asleep you know!! I was just... emmm... meditating my eyelids for a short time!

Yeah OK, I admit it, I was dozing. Believe it or not even us tireless folk at The Sound Of Confusion need to take in a bit of rest and relaxation occasionally. Alas (and inconsiderately if you ask us!) the rest of the world don't cease going about their business just to accommodate our whims for a little self indulgent "me time" -thus, in the case of yours truly, an autumn sabbatical from stalking our favourite bands' social network activities, resulted in one long anticipated release slipping by without so much as a by your leave!

The record in question was a debut album, and behind it the cheeky scamps evading our searchlight were transatlantic collaborators Space Fight - a disjointed (and often multi-continent residing) band of brothers, who originally tickled our taste buds some two and a quarter years past when featuring in the spin off Found Of Confusion series. As you can imagine then, having waited that long to hear the fruits of their painstakingly tricky work practices, we're not now going to let this long-player pass without a dissection of its merits - so apologies lads, we may be a touch late to the table, but you don't get off that lightly no matter how sneaky your release date is!

Of course we could let this slide and keep our "finger on the pulse" reputation (give us that credit surely??) firmly intact, but the thing is, to do so would be doing a disservice to a record that, as it turns out, is a vindication of the patience its creators invested in the project, and one that merits much more of a public fanfare than it has so far received. Spanning ten tracks 'All Systems Wait' (the title being a nod to the elongated recording process and the necessity to both keep and temper enthusiasm accordingly), is at its core an album that hops from foot to foot either side of the indie-rock and pop borderline, but though those genre tags may give a flavour of the skeleton Space Fight operate within, they do little to articulate the variety of styles being explored and juxtaposed over the forty minute running time.

Right from the off the melting-pot of musical directions on offer becomes apparent. The eponymous opening track launches into flight like the rebirth of turn of the century indie dance free spirits Regular Fries, setting out its stall upon spaced-out synths and some helter-skelter drum loops. Yet any concept of that being the template of what's to come is immediately dispelled on successor 'Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'', which after promising in its initial introductions to be a straight up three chord 'Pistols run through, suddenly does an about turn at the chorus and, thanks to the prominence of Spencer Miles' falsetto, takes on the form of a '70s prog-rock opera, complete with squiggly axeman solo just for good measure.

After rapid fire former single '22' struts its hooky chorus on track three, it's then the turn of 'Rust' to power the album on via its galloping base drum and choppy guitar lines (though it's actually the gentle intermission mid track that supplies this number with its spark), only then for 'Star' to deliver a welcome deviation in tempo, and possibly the album's standout moment; the lightly strummed, late night reflection on the dawning of a new year, sharing a sprinkling of the same stardust that Delakota dipped into on their classic '90s single 'The Rock'. Rather than tailing off meekly, the second half of the album is loaded with tracks that in previous incarnations have made prior EP or singles appearances. 'Strange Land' remains a snappy, straight-up rock single reminiscent of The Police, whilst 'Into The Blind' manages to retain its funky formula despite now having a markedly different bone structure to its original composition. The strongest returning alumni is 'Out Of Here', a reggae and baggy composite, that, despite its pleading chorus lyric, is decidedly uplifting and arguably the foremost melody on the record.

To close proceedings, Space Fight plump for the originally named 'Strawberries, Bear, And Nothing To Fear', and in what may perhaps be a rumination on the topsy-turvy journey they've traveled in bringing 'All Systems Wait' to fruition, it's a song that carries an air of positive acceptance; sometimes things will go right, on other occasions they may not, but it will turn out OK with a little self-belief. Mindful potentially that first and last impressions are often the ones that linger longest, the final minute and a half of the track is given over to a fantastic, twinkling wall of loveliness that is surely the sonic realisation of the "space" half of their moniker - which in itself is fitting, because as the last note fades away, the "fight" to get their ideas out to the world is over, and in that instant it must all seem worth it. God speed young men, this won't even be one small step for the music industry, but deserves to be one giant leap in your careers.

Space Fight's website

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