Rhyme, Rhythm & Romance Part II is (you guessed it) the second installment in Sydney band Slumberhaze‘s three part series of EP’s. Picking up where the first EP’s fusion of ambience and hip hop left off, Part 2 consolidates some of what made the first EP so tasty, while also trimming down their sound into a more coherent bundle.
From track one of this EP, Slumberhaze make it clear where they’re going with this installment, making it no secret that someone in the band took the time to learn the piano. The vibe on track one is certainly dark, but not in the way that you’d expect from this sort of band. With pounding piano breakdowns that sound more unsettling than groovy, eerie harmonies and some very diverse guitar work, Cool Don’t Stop leaves you with an unsettled feeling. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, and while the track takes some time to find it’s footing, the payoff is enormous when you get to that 2:33 mark.
Track two Dancing With The Hollows is a crowded sounding track, and the only way I can think of describing it that it’s almost like a poorly insulated apartment at about 7-9pm on a Friday. Everyone living in the apartment has had dinner, and is now either gearing up to go out or are settling in, each competing for sonic real estate. The track mashes up a guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Warpaint album with some slightly cheesy trap beats. What brings it all together are the weird, water droplet noises, the groove saving bass, and the screaming guitar solo straight out of the 1980’s.
Finally High is the standout track on this EP, with it’s clever, alternating arpeggio and a guitar tone that screams ‘stratospheric’. It’s Slumberhaze’s vision at it’s clearest, every instrument in perfect alignment with the song’s goal, layered and slotted perfectly with one another. Harmony, zen, at one with the earth and the heavens. I feel a little jipped that this track is the shortest on the EP, yet perhaps it was meant to be – it’s perfection is birthed through it’s brevity.
Closing track I Lose Control sees our heroic virtuoso from Cool Don’t Stop return to his post behind the ivory keys to bring us a high-to-average level piano-rock song, interspersed with some of the best breakdowns I’ve heard in a long time. Sparse, transforming and ever unexpected, it’s between the lines that Slumberhaze’s work really shines. Seriously, the bits between the first chorus and the second verse alone took me on a journey through time and space.
It’s these brief moments that make Part 2 a memorable album, yet the moments are just that. Brief. I went away feeling like the whole affair was a little too short, and don’t get me wrong I’m not looking for a prog-rock album or a new Music For Airports here, I just feel that the EP is a little crowded. The four tracks in Part 2 seemed to be oozing with ideas, dripping with creative melodies and jam packed with diverse instrumentation that could have spawned either more tracks or extended versions of the existing ones. I mean the closer I Lose Control clocks in at almost 5 minutes, and it still doesn’t feel like it goes on for long enough. With so much going on in the timeframe provided, Slumberhaze only briefly give you the chance to really get into where RR&R wants to take you.
But hey, don’t listen to me, I’m a douchebag who wants everything to be vocal-free and a minimum of 10 minutes long. Go listen for yourself on their Soundcloud, formulate your own opinion, and we’ll discuss it in the next tutorial. Class dismissed!
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