Initially former Oceansize members Mike Vennart and Gambler appear to have broken away from their progressive past here. Opener Defeat Skeletons is percussive and electronic with no acoustic instrument in sight. However, guitars gradually seep into the mix, with the development and exposition of the tune’s melodic themes culminating in a recognisable release of guitar-led fury.
Vennart’s voice is to the fore, and this continues to free him up for greater vocal experimentation than ever before. Sparse, glitchy and at times unsettling, songs like The Gift’s Demands make for a challenging listen, channelling the trailblazing industrial scores of Trent Reznor as well as a trip-hop sensibility.
The killer tracks though are the lush, layered tracks As The Leaves Are To The Limbs and Give A Man Enough Rope And He Will Hang Us All. Fraught, emotive and subtly yet brilliantly arranged, they bear the fingerprints of these two musicians as well as the embryonic trademarks of British Theatre.
Two EPs in and these consummate musicians are yet to put a foot wrong. In fact, on this evidence they seem incapable of producing a bad track. They’re both extraordinary artists.