Back & To The Left – Back & To The Left EP | Review
Clocking the Seinfeld reference of the name, I was eager to hear what the output of a band named after a spitting incident in the seminal sitcom would entail. The self-titled EP from Dublin’s Back & To The Left has clarity, depth, and most important of all – it has decent trajectory.
There’s heavy guitar riffs entwined with melody, indie-electronica, XTC-like pop and a fair degree of experimentation within lengthy, spaced out musical suites. All this is dispatched with both the light and shade of several diverse influences, rather than the tireless mining of one genre.
Introducing the record is The Day, a harsh feedback charged, amps up to 10 rock out – or so it appears at first. Once the heat is turned down and the layered acoustics and more delicate guitar lines are introduced it takes on a different, more liberal persona. It’s very different to anything that’s around right now – a promising start then.
Next up and by far the most energetic effort is the similarly schizophrenic Teacher. It integrates alt-rock, whimsical pop – in the vein of XTC – and rhythmic guitar jaunts into a complex yet satisfying six minutes. Far from sticking to pragmatic song writing processes, this tune happily swims between the shallow and deep ends of song construction with ease, but veers happily clear of any prog leanings. It’s already evident that there is a lot going on in these tunes, but they are constructed in such a way that they do not become overwhelming for the listener.
Green is delivered in two distinct parts. The first begins with a beautiful twin guitar melody, the second with a fuzzed up bass line, that along with the elongated guitar notes, drive the song into wonderfully eerie, weird pop territory.
Dogworld provides an instrumental break that leaves the guitars outside the studio door. It’s mild pseudo-dubstep electronica that recalls Radiohead era Kid A. Mostly these little experiments serve only to halt flow on a record, especially an EP. This, however, is an excusable indulgence and it sits well.
Next up, is a turn towards the more conventional. Train Wreck is a commercial indie-rock number that would be perfect for radio were the vocals just that little bit higher in the mix, while Here has the influence of Dinosaur Jr. written all over it. To close the record is the 13 minute, emotive and slightly drawn out Where It Is.
It’s easy to opine the lack of music with any real originality. Recording dynamics and writing have become so generic that boredom or ignorant bliss are the only viable options at times. However this makes the more inventive crop stand out all the more and the first four tracks on this EP achieve that. It’s a notable first effort from a band empowered rather than hindered by their influences. Where Back & To The Left go next will be very interesting to hear on the basis of this record. Finally, going back to the Seinfeld reference, they didn’t call themselves The Magic Loogie, so let’s all be thankful for that.