Opinion Review

Dangerfields: Embers

Cape Town’s most recent post-punk outfit Dangerfields released their debut EP “Embers” less than a week ago as somewhat of an afterword to their growing involvement in a few local gigs during the past couple of months.

Those who’ve managed to catch a glimpse of their material live will find no alteration in its recorded form as an equally compelling and fluid performance. Each member in this four-piece has endured a fair amount of exposure to the industry, hailing from former acts like The Very Wicked, Loveglove Pyrotechnics, and the still active surf rock group Retro Dizzy. Such an amass of musicianship in itself then already indicates the heightened level of quality implicit in Dangerfields’ inaugural release.

“Embers” is as faithful to the intonations and lilting movement of the shoegazing sub-genre as it is experimental thereof. Cascading guitar melodies oscillate between raspy and granular or silky delayed modulations that intertwine with one another, subjecting each track on this EP towards a harmonious whole. Every element of sound is distinctly audible through the album’s clear production, merging its varying lines of instrumentation into a refined and flowing order.

Lucas Swart’s vocals are soothing within a lower range that enhances the general tranquillity and dreamy structure of the EP’s individual compositions. I’m prompted to think of Radiohead’s ‘In limbo’ from their “Kid A” record as Swart sings of being “pulled back into limbo” on the album’s closer, ‘The Daylight.’ This connotation is anything but far-fetched as the band themselves cite the acclaimed English outfit as one of their primary sources of inspiration. The influence seeps through in their play upon nonstandard melodic technique, evident in the experimentation of reverb and alternate effects of distortion utilised.

In a track like ‘Haze’ one will hear an explicit shift of guitar tone into a more gritty texture within the instrumental transition following the first chorus until the second verse. Smaller details such as the scratching movement across guitar strings in ‘Bombs’ or the consistency of the dragging bassline in ‘Burn’ equally feature as components of sound specific to the atmospheric lull Dangerfields inevitably accomplish.

The elongated phrasing across “Embers” furthermore presents a feeling of nostalgia that resonates through the ensuing folds of its arrangement, both carefully and authentically created. The result is an unambiguously intimate progression that calls for appreciation as a highly personal product that also willingly forges a longstanding connection to its listeners.

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Listen to “Embers” on Bandcamp.