by tom johnson
Never have the mundane details been so inconspicuous in comparison to the music they represent. We can tell you that ‘Away‘ is a new, four track, EP from the Helsinki-duo Cats Of Transnistria, we can tell you that it gets a digital-only release from Soliti on the 16th of this month, we can also tell you that its staggeringly good – but none of that gets anywhere close to illustrating just what a prodigious experience Tuomas Alatalo and Henna Emilia Hietamäki have crafted.
‘Away’ is overbearingly dense. The vocals are scorched and almost always potent, a precarious burst of longing that drags itself to the surface amid a swirling mass of guitars. But oh, those guitars. Precious and benevolent at one moment, thick and impenetrable the next. That these two extremes manage to come together so fluidly is perhaps the EPs greatest achievement, they feel one-and-the-same and yet the battle between them is never anything less than completely compelling.
Opening track ‘Violet‘ is perhaps the records stand-out moment; a hypnotic, eight-minute exploration of sight and sound, where purely enrapturing vocals finally give way to unexpectedly thrashy guitars. ‘San Francisco‘ and ‘Good Night‘ sit perfectly as the EP’s centre-piece; slow-burning and pensive, they carry a weight that feels strangely indescribable. Closing track ‘The Departure‘ changes the pace a little, a stark drum-beat acts as the protagonist, carving out a path for a more biting lead vocal which brings a sense of bitterness in to the bleak surroundings.
Markedly affecting and often spectacular, ‘Away‘ is a consuming and engrossing depiction of abjection, but it’s certainly one that’s worthy of exploration. You can so below.
Away is released on January 16th, via Soliti.
Pre-order the EP digitally, here.