REVIEW: CONIFER ROCK – Exploded View

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Reviewed for Cyclic Defrost

coversqr018Square Root Records describes this release as 21st century lo-fi, a fairly apt phrase as Conifer Rock fuses electronic technology with guitars and ends up with something that sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track cassette machine. Exploded Views is his latest EP release.

Conifer Rock is the sole creation of Trevor Edmonds, his guitar, a drum machine and a laptop. He has taken the sound of The Kills with their primitive funk and blues and stripped it right back to its skeletal frame.

Sure Fire skips and stutters on a funky breakbeat like Neu jamming with Mixmaster Mike. Once he introduces the guitars to the mix you know this was created by a kid raised on indie, The guitar tones reflect New Order, The Cure and more recent blues-tinged indie rock. Young Professionals is junkshop funk with bedroom guitar, similar to Flying Nun’s Tall Dwarfs while Cross Section takes a more electronic approach before blues guitar crashes the party.

The vocals on the EP are subdued and mixed low which suits the remote feel of the songs. There is no emotional connection to the subject matter so we are free to focus on the melodies and rhythms.

Edmonds has achieved a wide range with his limited palette. Honey Lies utilises Fugazi metallic string sounds and Foreign Lands has looped, repeating passages that recall 70s and 80s electronica – a softer Suicide, more amiable than abrasive.

Exploded Views ends with Rocket Pops, a digital haze coating the track as if all of the previous music has dissolved into a shower of 0’s and 1’s and Edmonds is struggling to stay connected.

It is nice to hear this warm mix of instruments delivered in a low key manner. Lately the hype has been around the treble noise pop coming out of the USA which can be a little draining at times. Conifer Rock ticks many of the same boxes but it is wrapped in a cosier shuffle and strum.

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