The Production team of Matthew Devenish and Ezer Jenkins arise to release a work of introspection and dark hues founded on extraordinary writing and masterful engineering.
Shades of late 70's Peter Gabriel find a home with the experimental fringes of Joy Division to provide a bleak but fascinating world, laced with tinkling highs and disconcerting quietness.
Brave and mind-altering the duo have already been aired on Radio 3's Late Junction and regional BBC radio, and are sure to continue garnering attention for such exploratory material.
Standout track: Fear of Flying for its Banshees' step-up-to-the-plate guitar and illustrative madness on the edge.
‘Doors has a simple welcome with its gloom and organ, and it's jarring connection but there's somewhat shaky vocals and poor lyrical imagery with I'’ve gone blank, like a paper plate. That irritated me. A paper plate doesn't suddenly go blank, it is blank, and who in a band wants to sing something which includes paper plates anyway? It doesn't seem right. Blank like a snowman'’s arse, maybe, but paper plates? It takes a lot of winning me back after that, but they do it because the'’re like an subverted Gang Of 4, cool and sunny, then bad tempered and angular, with sweetly austere classical twinges straining. They're Ezer Jenkins and Matthew Devenish, who And Also The Trees fans will already be aware of. I wonder what Ezer'’s life was like when The Shamen were big? Ezer Geezer! You know what I'’m saying, leaving you one step ahead of yours truly. Celluloid (This Is A Void) is a spiteful little pop song, sparkling in its own drool. Thing Aztec Camera, with tourniquets applied.
Blink is wearier, bleak and soft, but with resilience trapped inside it's tattered coat, even mentioning bingo. It ticks along in splendid melancholic isolation, accompanied by timely angsty detonations. A Ropetrick is even slinkier, despite having jangling clattering sounds and a loping gait. What is hinted at in their press release is a dangerous mixture at play, but actually it all seems quite relaxed or spicily restless, still cemented onto or under a reliable melody. This is dignified while dealing harrowing emotional cards.
‘Fear Of Flying comes over like David Byrne trapped in a phone booth, which is a bit dreary and then in Random they use those dreamy spacey type vocals that seem so old-fashioned, so I lost interest there. The weirdly groaning, slightly demented ‘Comfort Zone restores the balance, and the sorrowful ‘Falling Star is one of the weirder entries and the more enjoyable for it, minimalist and caring. Gridlock bleeps and seethes, with bass frisking and vocals dominating the squashier backing, then doing an about face and becoming chillier, with other twists and turns taking it into doleful territory, becoming increasingly seductive and worrying and is a great ting, only spoilt unnecessarily by the buzzy noises at the end.
A very weird record in parts and a homely, morose one at others, souped up with some delirious energy. Arty and exciting, where the ravaged becomes ravishing.
Demo CD. One of the more intriguing bands of the recent issue, of that there is no doubt. Fans of Talking Heads, Poisoned Electric Head and even King Crimson will get a kick out of this. Celluloid is a band from the Midlands of the UK that you will love or you will hate. Just a listen to Upright will sort your head out; totally off the wall and a track where Tarzan pays a visit too. Celluloid is Matt Devenish on drums, Eza on bass/vocals and Mark Westwood on guitar and they are an ugly Bunch. That does not necessarily reflect on the music though with its Tina Weymouthesque bass lines that do a lot for comparisons, however Eza does have zany David Byrne voice. This lot are well worth checking out, especially if you like prunes with your breakfast!
What do British intellectuals do when they get angry? For Celluloid its music which releases the pent up tensions of the tortured soul. An anguished vocal is disappointed by the empty promises of a shallow world but is backed by a very disciplined musical mix embracing elements of the old and contemporary. Its a clinical sound, but never sterile and featuring some excellent playing . listen to the bass on Blink and be surprised by the textured soundplay of producers Devenish and Jenkins on all the mixes. But is there room for fun in this cerebral landscape? Upright gives us a relentless, driving backing but peppers it with humorous samples. Light at the end of the tunnel then for this alternative, but satisfyingly different slant on reality.
Ooh, this is a bit good, a league above most demo's I've heard recently. Like Elbow with more electronic noises, or The Specials with a hint of Post-Punk, Celluloid are Matthew Devenish, E-Za, and Mark Westwood. I tell you this because, to quote Lemar, if there's any justice in the world, these three blokes will be household names in the not too distant future.
First track ‘A Ropetrick’ is all hypnotic, glitchy noises, wiry guitars and Guy Garvey alike vocals, wailing that “My baby'’s got a stigma, and mother speaks in tongues”. No idea what it'’s all about (could be dysfunctional families?) but it sounds like something from The Coral'’s last album, only recorded on the moon; or something.
Blink meanders in with the atmospheric sound of traffic in a busy city and bass like a heartbeat. The vocals come in so cleanly, Stray dog limps down an empty pavement/A cold wind turns and papers blow away” and I'm hooked. Again, clever electronica and edgy drums provide the backbone of the song, but it's the words that leap out and hit you like a sledgehammer, “It'’s Saturday, lets party, try and mingle/The room is full but still you feel alone”
Last track ‘Upright’ brings the demo to a close. With its up-tempo, elastic bass line, scratchy, overdriven, stabbed guitars and almost techno type sound effects, it's akin to some of the Super Furry Animals excursions into noise/dance territory.
Token from Celluloid is immediately likeable yet grows on you more and more with each listen. It'’s not just a bit good, it's a bit special. Oh, if only there was any justice in the world...
CELLULOID Token - A rather warm interesting restrained inviting mix of left field Kissing The Pink 80's flavoured New Romantic edginess and wire-walking bruised and battered post-rock. Very well produced and recorded, excellent vocals, a full room where you still feel alone. Well worth your time, donÂ’t blink and cut and paste and sever - go investigate.
I think what you are doing is great.It makes me think of Joy Division as it might be re-interpreted by someone on Warp. Spare, haunting, hypnotic soundscapes with an unsettling doomy edge.
James Delingpole, Sunday Telegraph Music critic