Hailing from Bray, Columbia Mills are the latest Irish offering into the world of indie-electronica. The Wicklow lads are certainly on the darker end of the indie spectrum, as showcased by their recent four-track EP ‘Factory Settings’.
The EP rumbles to a start with opening track Never Gonna Look at You the Same. A drowsy four-note guitar riff leads in the muffled vocals, the simple drum beat keeping a drab pace. The guitar shines in the outro, creating a soundscape you can clearly see lighting up a live stage.
The tempo shifts and interest peaks with Headlights. This shadowy track leans more on electronic beats and synth. There are hints of an ‘80s sound, but the percussion is decidedly modern. The chorus isn’t particularly elevated, but it doesn’t need to be – keeping a consistently grim flavour throughout the track. Think of the opening credits of a gritty detective drama and you’ll be right on target.
Fishbowl City is delicate and sincere. An echoed guitar phrase, coupled with a repeated bass note and buzzing synth frame a basic but bleak song. It reaches a nice climax, with only the harmonised vocals and guitar carrying it through to the close.
This short release draws to a close with title track Factory Settings. The electronic boom-clap, not unlike that of Headlights, grates a little bit in this particular arrangement. You can hear the bones of an interesting song but there’s a few too many electronic noises going on, giving a slight over-produced feel to it.
‘Factory Settings’ is a solid EP from a promising Irish act. The dark accent to Columbia Mills’ music is intriguing. The dullness to their turn works for the most part, but sometimes teeters on the line between ambient music and engaging indie-rock. However, the elements are all there – we have certainly heard enough from this to expect great things from future releases.