Hello. We’re really happy to be sharing the exclusive first listen to the Adventure Gun EP by Olympians. They are one of our favourite bands at the moment and we’re delighted to be able to host 6 reasons why.
About a minute into opening track ‘Mountains’ you realise that you are listening to something special. It’s almost enough to snap you out of your own importance to pay attention. If you can, focus on nothing else for twenty minutes or so, you will be in for a bit of a treat. I’m going to attempt to use some words from the English language to explain why. Please do bear with me.
Here’s the thing anyway. Click Play.
I’m told a review should give a record it’s place in history. Not only within the musical sphere of it’s peers, the arc of its creators own development, but in societies entirety. Where does it sit and what does it say? I’m supposed to talk with authority. Infallible perception. Expressing virtues and flaws as fact. Reflecting and analysing intent. Using words like precision tools to dissect.
You always start with an introductory paragraph which tells you all the facts. You have to cram them in before people stop paying attention. Things like where the band are from and how many of them there are. These are key facts when talking about music. It’s inexplicably important. You should mention the name of the release at least once. Preferably twice. If in doubt introduce some hyperbole here. If you can, you should introduce ideas that you can revisit later, things that will tie the piece into a handsome little bow, and you should throw in some genre tags. People love things to be presented in clean boxes. Talk about some of their previous releases, if it is a debut release, talk about their live show or anything of note that they have done.
Olympians are a four piece from Norwich and London. There are four of them. Their latest EP ‘Adventure Gun’ progresses the musical ideas introduced in last years four part Book Club series. Progressing further from their Math-Rock roots towards the expansive synth based harmony porn odyssey that makes up Adventure Gun. Where once a million guitar notes resided in willingly obtuse rhythms, you are now greeted with harmonies overflowing with wry wit and acerbic observations.
Opener ‘Mountains’ encapsulates their newly refined approach. A steady synth crescendo peaks with the refrain “So why do you look so upset when they knocked your house down to build a road that could set you free?” and the assorted “oh” and “woah” brainworms carry you even higher for a perfectly measured two and a half minutes. This is developed further throughout Adventure Gun.
‘From Your Head’ is awash with glitchy synths and intricate harmonies as if the band had orchestrated a straight swap for their complex guitar lines. Choosing to replicate them with vocal harmonies and bury the guitars for you to pick out after a couple of listens. Perhaps deciding that you could evoke more with words than you could with guitar notes. Understanding is important after all. ‘Filling My Heart With Weird Dreams’ is up next, like the entire EP, it feels deeper and fuller than anything the band have released before. Musically stunning and lyrically astute throughout, there are moments that bury themselves in your brain, emerging in quiet times to take it over. The closing couplet of 'Tidy House, Tiny Mind' and 'Home Is Where The Heart Breaks' for example, is as good as anything I've heard in a long time, I'm not going to sully them with my words. Suffice to say, I find my brain singing them back to me, regardless of my free will.
Once you have pinned it down, you have to open up the beast and see what is inside. Mostly blood and gore as you’d expect. Certainly nothing you can’t see on google whilst keeping your hands clean. The important thing you think, as you cut a kidney free, is to experience it for yourself. To hold the cutting blade, tenderly lifting the organ away from its natural place, examining it in isolation. You should treat each song similarly. The middle section (two paragraphs) of your standard review will be examining the songs one by one. In order. Picking out any themes if the band appear to have anything resembling a coherent message. By all means sucuumb to extolling your own hyperbole. That is to be encouraged. If you can, mention any link you have with the band, it can be anything. Anything to establish you, your voice, as an authority. There are a lot of cheap tricks you can use to do this.
One word you’ll read a lot if you skim the reviews of Adventure Gun is ‘intelligent’, the boys in Olympians have clearly spent some time considering every aspect of it’s presentation. Which is undoubtedly a good thing. I would say however that as intelligent as it is, and it is, equally it is governed by self awareness. The kind of fun self awareness that LCD had. The “...we’re laughing anyway” kind of awareness. Tired eyes seeing the motives and reasoning behind things and not just the ‘things’. Pointing out the inherent futility whilst giggling uncontrollably. They are continually redefining their approach. Attempting to stay ahead of their own boredom, and you can’t help but feel that if the band continue on their current trajectory then anything is possible for them.
I watched people being dragged from the rubble of a fallen building on television last night. For ten minutes I stared at the images. Cursing as the buttons on the remote control made me struggle to relinquish it from between the sofa cushions. Changing the channel I imagined warehouses, off white strip lighting, endless racks of servers full of screaming teenage angst. Billions of pounds and thousands of years of evolution spent rotating electro magnets, correlating copper 0’s and 1’s to formulate pictures of my chain store burrito. Adventure Gun is a product of precisely now. It has found itself mindlessly clicking through a friend of a friends wedding photos on facebook. It has retweeted, reblogged, liked, favourited, loved itself into submission. It's blessed with an awareness of itself and the time that it inhabits, and because of that, it is vitally important. You should insert some sort of emoticon here.
To finish your review, you have to tie it all back together, make the reader realise why you left that awkward sentence standing out in the first paragraph. Put the record in its place. Fashion a pretty bow. End with a bold statement or something to induce some thought before they click away. Think about how you interact with the written word these days. Or don’t. Think about the lists and cat gifs that you are going to find in the next ten minutes. Think about crowdsourcing an idea for your perfect pop-up picnic.