Vessels are a 5-piece Leeds based band who have just finished recording their debut album, White Fields and Open Devices. Vessels forge together their influences of post-rock, math-rock, electronica and indie into a disparate but cohesive mix. They have been compared to bands as diverse as Talk Talk, Battles, Mogwai, I Was A Cub Scout and Broken Social Scene. Their incendiary live set, which utilises a great understanding of light and shade, has won them many fans. Radio support has been shown by Huw Stephens (for whom a session was recorded), Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq, The Organ and John Kennedy.
Post rock has come to be something of a redundant label of late. Once the preserve of cutting edge acts whose mere existence and experimental voyages served as a refreshing antidote to the fetid retro-fetishism of Britpop, the label has oft been used as an excuse by any number of talentless no marks whose acquaintance with originality and creativity can barely be registered on nodding terms.
All of which serves to make White Fields And Open Devices, the debut album from Leeds quintet Vessels, a cause for celebration. Though the band occasionally sails a little too closely to their influences - both Altered Beast and An Idle Brain And The Devil's Workshop are less Battles and more a minor skirmish - taken as whole, this collection is both thrilling and thought-provoking in equal measure.
Vessels' high-speed collision of metal guitars, twisted dance beats and an aesthetic of confrontation becomes increasingly convincing as they methodically up the excitement quotient. Choosing Explosions In The Sky's knob-twiddler John Congleton to helm production duties was an inspired move and the re-recorded versions of early singles Two Words And A Gesture and Yuki bear testament to this as elsewhere, the sonic maelstrom that beats at the heart of Wave Those Arms, Airmen brings the whole experience to a cataclysmic and gloriously discordant conclusion.
Despite the intermittent hiccup - Vessels really should decide whether they want to be an instrumental or vocal band and the evidence certainly suggests the former option - this daring debut stands head and shoulders above the second-rate dross from their hometown that's vying for your attention. --Julian Marszalek
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