With the screech of feedback still ringing in our ears from the career spanning A Long Way Round To A Shortcut, comes this LA dude's first proper full length album. Since their DIY conception, Mike Donovan and Matthew Hartman have been slowly evolving their sound from the bandsaw-like noise of the early singles to the more song orientated blues-fuzz that we heard at the beginning of Long Way Round. U.S. EZ takes the whole gamete of that retrospective and with it we find a band more fully formed than ever and yet unmistakably gritty.
If you mistook that intro to mean that Sic Alps now make nice-and-easy-to-listen-to songs then keep an eye on your graphic equalizer and you'll see that it takes less than thirty seconds for opener Massive Place to hit the red line. Massive Place embodies this entire album as it is split into three definable sections, the first being Donovan's fuzz soaked vocals oozing out, thick as molasses and amid deep puddles of feedback. This tapers off unexpectedly and then resumes a moment later but now joined by what sounds like 20 drums. The third part is introduced towards the end of the song and is allowed roughly 5 seconds to get going before time is called on the whole thing. So in one song we have the near indecipherable and distant vocals together with the much matured and instantly impressive rhythm section which is all thrown left of center by the unpredictable song structure.
Even subjecting this record to this kind of scrutiny seems to miss the point. This band seem to pay little attention to things like structure or form and as a result have crafted a piece of work that flows freely though often on rocky ground. Songs like Put The Puss To Bed, with it's totally abstract nature, dovetail perfectly with a song like Bathman that, amid the wooly noise that surrounds it, sounds like a long lost Kinks demo recorded in an empty warehouse. Much is asked of the listener here, but never so much as the twinning of N##jj and its polar opposite Gelly Roll Gum Drop. N##jj takes all the noise from the early work and shits on it from a high height. It is 1:20 minutes of what sounds like a high speed pile-up involving a dozen 125cc motorbikes and 50 articulated lorries all carrying drum kits. It's a headache to say the least but what emerges is even more unexpected. Gelly Roll Gum Drop is one of the most conventional songs this band have made and plays heavily on their love of old rock n' roll and blues rhythms. Take all this and filter it through the lo-fi DIY filter and you've got a foot-tapping, scuzz dripping masterpiece.
U.S. EZ is the sound of a band emerging from its bare-bones beginnings into the big, wide world. It does this armed with all the tools that made people take notice in the first place, grit, freedom, non-conformity and energy and with all this firmly under their belt Sic Alps seem to march onwards into a new dawn and with a confidence that is a sight to behold.
16th Oct 2008 - Tumblr3
A Long Way Round To A Shortcut
Hey Friend What Are You Doing?
Decent modern spin on Mary Poppins. Bit uneven, but a nice soundtrack helps things along.
20th Jan 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Bog standard entry into The-Rock-action-movie genre. As much personality as a computer game.
3rd Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
This time it’s really, really serious. Seriously.
27th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
It’s a musical ...but slick direction makes it just about bearable.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Pop-culture bouillabaisse, hampered by numerous terrible accents.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Pacey, emotional, old-fashioned indie pic. Beautifully observed.
15th Dec 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly underwhelming biopic that doesn’t find its feet until 20m from the end.
24th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Utterly derivative / thoroughly enjoyable ‘Heat’ rip off.
21st Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Well crafted character study, with some nice touches.
10th Nov 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Brutal revenge thriller. Stylish and violent, with plenty of explanation… https://t.co/VfjHjpveUJ.
4th Nov 2018Read more star reviews
Intense indie drama from Netflix. Impeccably acted and directed.
27th Oct 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Disappointingly unoriginal superhero movie, complete with dull CGI action.
27th Oct 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Continually clichéd rock romance that never breaks into originality.
13th Oct 2018Read more 1.5 star reviews
Dry Morrissey biopic that gets arty by avoiding using any Smiths songs.
7th Oct 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Decent rehash of vintage indie movie tropes.
7th Oct 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Mumblingly wordy western that’s big on self-importance and low on drama and tension.
25th Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Muddled biopic with occasional moments of eccentric comedy madness.
22nd Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Like a long episode of Girls that’s all about one of the more boring characters.
16th Sep 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Slightly confused slice of post-Michael Mann LA crime.
7th Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Sympathetic retread of Single White Female, with added #hashtags.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Welcome to the Jungle
Fun updated reboot with added Breakfast Club.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Low-tide mark for super hero movies. I only finished watching to see how bad it could get.
14th Aug 2018Read more 1 star reviews
It’s a cover version of every other Mallick pic, but the setting is inspired and the improv from Gosling is enjoyably enthusiastic.
8th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Well written, well paced sequel. Surprisingly competent and heartwarming.
4th Aug 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
70s pot boiler that lazily meanders through a series of mediocre set pieces.
23rd Jul 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Enjoyable change of pace for the super hero genre. Comedy wins.
21st Jul 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Great concept, but shoddily directed and utterly devoid of jeopardy.
17th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Small scale wartime espionage flick. Decent, but a bit laboured.
15th Jul 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Sub Roland Emmerich swill, with Gerard Butler saving the world from crazy weather.
13th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Derivative but fun romp through 80s CIA drug and gun running.
12th Jul 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Brutally sincere, painfully thin yakuza flick. Jared Leto goes full Gaijin.
6th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Huge misfire from Tomas Alfredson, with a multitude of bizarre choices. Like a bad 80's VHS rental.
6th Jul 2018Read more 1.5 star reviews
Brutally violent, post-Tarantino western. It’s all a bit mechanical.
2nd Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
A Star Wars Story
Reasonable, forgettable addition. Overfilling that mysterious back story.
1st Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Lazy double-crossing spy drama, directed with a certain amount of swagger.
24th May 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.
12th May 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Minimally written and confidently directed, with a brutally violent third act. Starring thin Vince Vaughn.
4th May 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. Surprisingly slight effort from Linklater.
29th Apr 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another tired entry, trotting out the same old tropes, plus new nonsensical gibberish.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2 star reviews
A third crack at Spider-man. Fun-ish, but it’s zero-stakes, zero-jeopardy. Bit smug too.
31st Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another garish super-hero flick. Slightly above average, mainly by being more old-fashioned.
30th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.
16th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Incredible, tense, original thriller. A western with snowmobiles.
14th Mar 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Career retrospective doc that keeps it fun and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
11th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Blockbuster-by-numbers as Universal clumsily attempt to build a franchise.
24th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
The Story of Mudhoney
Unsurprising history run-down, enlivened by the band’s ferociously DIY attitude.
21st Feb 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Some good ideas, buried by shambolic direction and storytelling.
20th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Intense, eerie thriller that’s surprisingly straightforward and a little old-fashioned.
30th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews