Poly-Math – ‘Melencolia’ [Review]
Poly-Math are fast becoming Names in the British math- / post-rock underground, and rightly so. 2015’s Reptile churned a fair few minds and pricked up many an ear – and now, Poly-Math’s debut mini-album Melencolia is set to take them up a level.
Look at the running times for each of Melencolia’s three tracks (13:36; 9:45; 12:44), and you’d be forgiven for feeling a tad intimidated. Press play, though, and it’ll be over before you know it.
Just be glad you don’t have to memorise how to play the damn thing.
Melencolia’s opening title track mixes widescreen 4K soundscapes with chunky, hyperkinetic riffs and hypnotic basslines underpinning a final guitaristic freakout. It’s almost a quarter of an hour long, but it’s a testament to Poly-Math’s musical mastery that it doesn’t drag on. Melencolia’s opening moments point directly in the influential direction of The Mars Volta, but knee-jerk pigeonholers will soon witness proof that you should never judge a song by its intro.
Poly-Math are doing what all great bands do: carving out a niche of their own, and exploring its possibilities with painstaking attention paid to the details. The fact that this is a debut album (mini or not) is shocking, in the best way possible.
Ekerot’s psychotic stabs and tangled polyrhythms throb and pulse with a consistent stream of outstanding bass performances. This point does nothing to take away from the other aspects of Poly-Math’s sound, but fuck me: Joe Branton can fucking play. Nice one.
Back to the world of mental track durations with Temptation Of The Idler. Cute loops mingle with bouncy bass and playful beats, tension building before mangled melodies get yanked into a series of yo-yo-like dynamic leaps and we’re off into a montage of intensely visual vignettes that represents Melencolia’s home stretch.
Blow-by-blow commentary is impossible – and pointless, in this case. Poly-Math have penned and immortalized a firecracker of a debut, bottling apocalyptic live energy and pushing the faders marked “weird” and “wonderful” as far north as they’ll go. If you’ve read this far, mark April 8 in your calendar app of choice and feel your blood start to fizz in anticipation.
TMMP RATING: 93%
Download Ekerot for free via this handy Bandcamp link.