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Empire of Sponge | 6th Finger (Homesleep)
This is the debut release for Quickspace drummer Chin Keeler, who has finally stepped from behind the traps and set about putting his multi-instrumentalist skills to good use. Keeler is an exceptional songwriter, and the three tracks on this single are variegated enough for him to play around with a flow of ideas and sound techniques. Both 6th Finger and Heart is Heavy are little gems, the first crossing over sloppy piano jazz with militaristic blasts of dense distortion and guitar trickery, the second a gentle down-beat love song rippled by brooding noises on an ebow.

But it's the final track, Du Du, that sends warmth shooting down my spine through to the tips of my fingers. An energetic instrumental, the song is structured by a Classic Rock Riff (I'm talking early Led Zeppelin. Or, um, Hawkwind), then fuzzed up and set to Keeler's pulsing trademark drums. The song breaks down and falls apart wonderfully, as though it becomes exhausted by its own energy, thereby giving way to a flurry of bridges and solos that are so fluid and engulfing, you can't help but remember that most bands spend their entire careers perfecting what Keeler has clipped down to three minutes.

Mia Clarke
June-July 2003

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