Abrasive Trees have a knack of conjuring up vivid and emotional soundscapes in their songs. And their Without Light EP is a nourishing, poignant, mini-dive into their world.
Abrasive Trees is the creative vehicle for Matthew Rochford’s solo work. For Without Light he is joined by members of Rothko, Evi Vine and Fields Of The Nephilim. The additions create added angles and perspectives – take the Rothko remix of title track Without Light, for example. Just reflecting those different vantage points signals the added depth of that tune in particular and the disk as a whole.
“This EP has challenged me to go deeper and have a consistent intention with each track,” said Matt.
“The music is the result of an emotional process that I think you can definitely hear in the music. I think even when there is grief in music it’s important to know that although we are fragile we can bounce back and feel happiness again.
“Working with Mark (Rothko) and Steven (Evi Vine) has been a massive boost both creatively and personally during the last year. It’s been heart-warming.
“One of the tracks (Alone In The World) also features the great Peter Yates from The Nephilim. He said it reminded him of Burial, one of my favourite artists. Even though Abrasive Trees is essentially a guitar-based band, having that comparison really confirmed that the experimental streak in me was coming through loud and clear and I took it as a huge complement.”
Top track Without Light opens like the creep of sunset. The dimpsey light leading you to something darker. The lyrics kick in just at the right moment, with a grow-ly bravura and not a little dread. And it’s the unexpected strings and swell to the end that’s an added pulse pumper.
Beware the one who knocks! The early drums of We Rise give way to a guitar which has that matt lustre, compounded by the vocals and the rising chords. In other, less earth-worn hands this could be a footstompy celebration, but there’s something heavier, hard-won with a valuable glimmering here.
The music of Alone In The World has the feeling of sitting too close to the end of a cliff – there’s danger just over there that is somehow encroaching. Yes, this tune is a tummy wobbler for us delicate vertigo types.
Rothko’s Remix of Without Light is layered and pumpy, the beat now drives the tune more, compelling it to progress, and you along with it.
Title track, the layered Without Light is accompanied by an ethereal video from visual artists Jess Wooller,
Without Light is released on March 26.