electronic duo makes innovation sound easy with new ep.
Australian electronic outfit Slumberjack first burst onto the music scene with its futuristic, trap-infused track Felon, which garnered praise for its busy, heavily industrial sound. This would have fit like a glove on the soundtrack of an arena production of Blade Runner on Ice, if the powers that be ever commissioned one.
At the time of writing, they still haven’t. This writer remains hopeful.
Subsequent releases have received similar appreciation and increased the duo’s listener base considerably, with latest EP Fracture being their most hotly anticipated yet – and thankfully, the duo has risen to the challenge and come up with an intriguing mix of flavours and sounds, supplying their fans some of their most satisfying music to date in the process.
Opener Afraid, Unafraid is a relatively gentle affair, which combines delicate female vocals – as does every song, to masterful effect – with tasteful dubstep flourishes and rewards listeners with a melodic, infectious drop that gives the track extra personality without sounding jarring. Paralyse follows, melding skittish beats and abrasive synth tones with one of the duo’s warmest and most unabashedly pop chorus.
The rest of the five-song set carries on in the same interesting vein, with the glitchy Take Me resting on an apocalyptic siren-wail hook whilst simultaneously slipping in some Coldplay-esque “whoah”s, and the interlude track Cradle to the Grave starting off on a more sombre, ambient note before building to a saturated, buzzing crescendo.
Yet it’s the soaring, defiant title track and closing number Fracture that’s the real star, with haunting, intricate acoustic guitars that glide along over its slightly sinister Timbaland beat and provide a stark contrast to the electronic haze of the rest of the release. “There’s always something that pulls me in,” the ghostly vocal laments over a bed of symphonic keyboards and icy electronic drums, before bringing the EP to an abrupt close, leaving the brooding tale of unrest conspicuously unresolved.
In an age of bedroom DJs and an over-saturated dance music economy, it’s both refreshing and reassuring to hear music that’s both innovative and engaging, while still remaining a fun and accessible listen. With Fracture, Slumberjack has almost made it sound easy.