EP Review: In Crowded Skies - 'Everything Comes To Light'

Having followed Pete Herbert’s movements on his last outing in the world of music with After The Ordeal, I had high hopes for In Crowded Skies’ potential. Stepping in from stage left, Pete and his bass have substituted backing vocal duties for lead vocals. Formed in 2013, ICS apply a progressive edge to alt and post-rock flavours. Following up their 2014 EP ‘… What Happens Now?’, the band have continued as they began; time-signature changes, gut-busting basslines, complex vocal melodies and more.

‘You Were Right’ opens the EP with meaty bass, backed up by Matt Downes’ drumming – alive with technical ability. The guitars layer in with the vocals through the verse and deliver you swiftly to where ICS make their impact: Short instrumental sections where the band all comes together like an orchestra, gifting you with melody and harmony, staccato hits, and all around skilled playing. Despite this the band still offers up a catchy chorus and vocal hooks in the verses that will entice the less adventurous.

The EP's title track sees the band link to their earlier works, as the Kent quartet progress to Part III of their ‘Like a Burning Star’ series, with a slow-tempo dirt-fest of an offering. As you settle down after the first soaring chorus, the guitars scream out a short crescendo leaving that filthy booming bass exposed. Most interestingly, the outro conjures the image of a creepy carousel in my head.

‘Radars’ and ‘No Evil’ explore the more progressive elements of ICS’s spectrum, exploring changes of pace, key and some more off-the-wall scales than the previous tracks. These last two songs on the EP again give the listener the familiarity of lyrical and musical themes throughout that tie the respective tracks together and make them accessible.

In Crowded Skies are a band gathering pace and pushing their own boundaries. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are a band that I continue to grow fonder of the more I listen. I’m excited to see …what happens next.

Words of Samuel Hylands.

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