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?
Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.
16th Jun 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.
31st May 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.
7th May 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.
28th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.
27th Apr 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.
12th Apr 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.
6th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.
1st Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.
28th Mar 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Fun biopic that runs out of steam about when the band did.
25th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
A diminished remake of Deadpool 1. Occasional LOLs.
25th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.
19th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Unremarkable, cliche-ridden actioner. Utterly lacking in suspense.
17th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
A disjointed patchwork of homages, nods and rip offs from dozens of other movies, with little to offer of its own.
11th Mar 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Laborious, high-concept alien horror. While the concept is good, the beats are all well telegraphed.
2nd Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Witty, if a little obvious, post-meta rom-com.
1st Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Second Part
It’s literally a re-hash of all the themes of the first one with a few less jokes.
23rd Feb 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Slight, but sometime engaging iPhone feature.
26th Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
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 left to the imagination.
4th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 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