It seems that many fresh, young bands these days tout the 'synths are the new guitar' philosophy, with banks of keys, loops, pads, laptops, electronic anythings replacing the familiar sound of the six-string. Not so the curiously-named Melbourne outfit I, a Man
With only two EPs to their name, they've quickly developed a firm reputation for a distinctive guitar sound that makes the strum of an electric seem intriguing again. Whether rippling in washes of ambient textures with a drone and a twang, or coiling together for big, shimmering chords, the twin guitars of Daniel Moss and Ash Hunter are the core of I, a Man's textural complexity. Their instruments unspool in rhythmic tendrils that recall all the indie guitar heroes rolled into one; the flickering haze of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields as well as the spindly art-rock flourishes from Johnny Marr of The Smiths.
Anchoring their eclectic and spacious soundscape is the durable rhythm section of Erik Rene and drummer Sumner Fish, their nimble lines and beats matching the flexibility of the guitars as they stretch and scrape in novel directions. Swelling tempos suddenly shift and turn for vivid new courses, making even the tricky five-four time signature sound relaxingly natural. For all their intelligent and experimental leanings, however, it never obscures the band's love for a catchy melody - their songs are bathed in magnetic riffs that nest in your head.
Having finished their latest EP, You're Boring Us All
, with the same production duo that handled their debut recording (that's Tim O'Halloran and Dave Williamson, liner notes fans), the Melbourne four-piece are set to breathe life into their clever and diverse tunes with a spate of national touring dates. Melbournians, be sure to add their hometown shows as part of the ever-growing St. Kilda Festival
lineup, as well as a launch show at the intimate Northcote Social Club
, to your gig diaries.
THE EVERGUIDE EIGHT...
with I, a Man
As answered by Dan (lead vocals, guitar)
What was the last bit of music you purchased?
Been catching up on some albums that I didn't get around to buying last year. So, Let England Shake
by PJ Harvey, the Twerps' record and Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
Describe your live show to someone who's never seen it?
Well, technically I've never seen it either. My Dad's reference point to everything is Bob Dylan, so according to him our live show is like early Dylan with louder guitars.
If you could collaborate/tour with anyone - alive or dead - who would it be?
This is a long, ever-changing list, but as I've been listening to a lot of Spirit of Eden
and Laughing Stock
[influential UK group Talk Talk's final two albums], I'm gonna go with Mark Hollis, or a tour with Talk Talk - playing those records.
What helps a band succeed in today's music climate?
There are so many bands around today with such easy means to getting their music heard, therefore the majority of a band's 'success' is a flash in the pan. So I'd judge your success on your own creative satisfaction. If you can continue to challenge that and satisfy that, then you're successful.
Describe the best and worst thing about Australian music?
There's a lot of it.
If you had to cover a TV theme tune - what would it be?
'Suicide Is Painless' from M*A*S*H. Such a good song, and written by [director] Robert Altman's fourteen-year-old son, which is pretty crazy. On a lighter note, Samurai Pizza Cats
would be pretty fun to have a crack at.
Tell us your most memorable live moment?
Being told to "play plenty of Barnzy and no Farnzy."
What's next for I, a Man?
After launching You're Boring Us All
at the Northcote Social Club, we'll be touring the EP around a bit. After that? More writing.