Track Review: The Micro Band: Bridge of Eden

‘Taking us down endless aisles of strut-inducing musical creativity, it constantly keeps you on your toes.’

Intro to The Micro Band
Previously releasing two albums and an EP, including their debut ‘People People’ which was recorded without the members meeting beforehand, Edinburgh based music collective ‘The Micro Band’ may have the most misleading name we’ve come across yet. Comprised of no less than seven-members, their vocal and instrumental skills, their influences, and their tracks are as eclectic as you could imagine. However, adding more than a few extra layers to this, new single ‘Bridge of Eden’ sees them musically depict the moment lead vocalist and songwriter Alex Auldsmith collapsed in a supermarket frozen food aisle, having experienced some sort of brain seizure. Packing a real punch from beginning to end, it’s a track that truly showcases what ‘The Micro Band’ are all about, and for that reason, the perfect track to launch their record label ‘New Teeth’ with.
Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with The Micro Band

Track Review
From the very first millisecond of ‘Bridge of Eden’ you know that The Micro Band really mean business. Forget your slow, gentle introductions. Forget all sense of predictably too. Instead, open your ears and get ready to savour everything. Intent-fuelled groove-centred guitar riffs roar first, burrowing themselves into you. Then the rhythm floods your veins, causing you to move without awareness. And then that movement transforms into a strut that’s tinted with a level of arrogance you won’t have prepared for, or have expected. In many ways, you could say that these quick-as-a-flash changes, and how the sound takes over your whole body, is the most perfect depiction of the event that inspired the track in the first place.

Tossing the rhythm around like a bouncy ball, you find yourself trying to grab hold of the beat. Then, just as you think you’ve got it sussed, you’re thrown off. It’s actually such a clever way to kick off a track. Provide a structure for long enough so it doesn’t feel random, but not so long that it becomes monotonous. Expanding on these beginnings, with the opening groove established a sea of percussive accents appear to help us settle. These though are actually just as unpredictable as the riff itself. Sure they solidify where main beats fall, but when you learn that these are actually comprised of barrel hits, shakers and shopping trolley strikes, you wonder what other surprises will greet us. 

Proving how much we will be kept on our toes, with the initial vocals appearing we find ourselves in harmony, rather than groove central. Nodding to influences found in previous releases, the setting of these early phrases may feel as if we are heading down a folk route. However, with the lyricism itself telling a story you would be unlikely to find in any other track – let alone a folk one – you know you won’t be strolling down that aisle.

Constantly highlighting the experience that Alex had, lines such as ‘I’m an island in a storm’ metaphorically refer to the event rather than being blatant about it. These inferences then appear in other areas, the most prominent at this point being that of a didgeridoo drone! Wonderfully replicating a deepest of tinnitus ringing through the head, or perhaps even a flatline of consciousness, the inclusion of it is actually genius.

Bringing the groove back while retaining the vocal influences just experienced, after the sparseness you really appreciate the complexity of sound. Whirling among each other, the instrumental lines interlock in almost joyous fashion. Listen soft, and you’ll latch on to the aforementioned guitar motifs. Listen hard, and you’ll notice the intricacy of the bass line. But don’t let this tuning in be at the expense of experiencing other elements. That said, you’ll never be quite sure what your brain’s going choose to hear each time, but then that’s what makes the whole track so incredible.

With the underlying texture carrying a more than a hint of cross-rhythmical energy, on pushing through chorus content this spreads across in the vocals. Ever working to enhance the inspiration at every turn, the lyricism focuses on the gravitas of the situation. The reality of what happened even. Combining powerful accents and widespread harmonies, phrases such as ‘I’m too scared to think of it…what if it wins?’ and ‘I’m really fighting with myself from within’ are truly dominating. But, in picking up on the unpredictable nature of their surroundings, they throw the rhythm around in a playful, yet determined way. 

As though the track hasn’t already given us enough – and trust me you really won’t believe what’s left – we now venture down another aisle of musical creativity. Acting like short sharp shocks, mixed vocals take on a more angular form while percussive thuds work in a heartbeat-like manner under briefly appearing melodic fragments. Reflecting bursts of chemical reactions, and trips in and out of consciousness, it’s yet more evidence of The Micro Band being true to what their creative aim is. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t miss the rhythmical barcode scanning!

Ensuring that we never lose sight of the story behind what we’re hearing, as we progress through into the latter parts of the track all areas really push home Alex’s experience. Sure this has been the case throughout, but again hinting at the strength of the seizure the journey to the end is where it’s at it’s strongest.

Truly reflecting the full-throttle internal struggle that’s taking place, rather than the almost a cappella sound of the first verse returning, the second sees us jump straight back into a chaos-tinted atmosphere. Meanwhile, with the lyricism containing phrases such as ‘fling that violence out’, ‘shake and shiver on the spot’, and ‘now my brain has sold me out’ it’s almost like you are there. And then, with the anthemic chorus sounding like it’s about to self-combust, the groove takes hold one last time making you want to experience it all again.

‘Bridge of Eden’ by The Micro Band is available exclusively via Bandcamp now.

Find out more about The Micro Band at:
Behind the Music: Interview with The Micro Band

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