Ah Tessellators! Now then here’s a proper London band and no mistake. I don’t just mean the London references that pepper the lyrics, tales of commuting and un-rewarding jobs, references to the flavours of living in the Smoke and so on, but the whole sound just exudes London, I am not sure they could really be from anywhere else.
The double The City/La Ciudad EP is two sides of a similar coin – one recorded in their own practice space and the other (guess which) using proper grown up studio time (this collection follows two earlier, nautically inspired EP’s – O! Mighty Sea and Red Admiral) . Rumour has it that the band might be happiest with the former, perhaps they feel it keeps the slightly rawer edge to the tracks, maybe they understandably resent spend hard earned cash on studio time?
Either way there is a crispness to the tracks, a pleasing ‘closeness’ to both the instruments and vocals. Sometimes there is real pleasure in a band that has a deep complex soundstage but there is also there is equally something striking about an immediacy and proximity to a set of tracks and here it’s a bit like having them in your front room.
I have been trying, unsuccessfully as it turns out, to put a handle on the guitar sound – it’s seriously redolent of someone but I can’t place it, but Dan Barrett clearly spends no little time getting the guitar sound he wants. Alex Normans skins are sharp and snappy, none of your squelchy drumming here, and Ben Beare’s bass anchors it all done very effectively – especially for me on my favourite track from the City disc Spires and Obelisks. The La Ciudad disc brings in a few other chaps, a bit of trumpeting going on and Hayley Slatter’s extra vocals adding a slightly folky twang especially on Foxton’s Hymnal.
I have been listening to these two EP’s for a good week or so and I have to take my hat off to Tessellators, it is a consistently enjoyable experience, lifting my spirits over a few less-than-brilliant days (oh, by the way when and why do bands lose the definite article in their names? Why not The Tessellators? How come it will always be THE Beatles, never Beatles, or equally THE National not National?…. oh well, never mind I guess it’s not important)
And an especially honourable mention must be made for the rather splendid and hand-crafted packaging – trimmed, stitched, glued and generally assembled by their own fair hands – and I have the picture to prove it!
I am especially cheesed off not to have been able to catch them on their recent mini tour along with Trelawney (who has a most excellent voice in my opinion, and was part of Hundred Handed along with the Tessellator chaps – but that’s another story) and the inestimable Bravo Brave Bats. It isn’t hard to imagine what a live Tessellators set might be like based on this offering. The City/La Ciudad is a cut well above the usual and I commend the work to the House. Oh and I suggest you badger the bejesus out of them to get a copy of this fine EP pairing – FB should do it or else stalk them on Twitter @tessellators …