‘Refraction’ is the eponymous debut by the four-piece instrumental outfit from Dublin. It’s a heavy string of dreamlike ebbs and flows, with a bleak melodic style of its own.
Produced at DATA in Kerry, the guitars, snare and cymbals are crisp and powerful, with amazing tone in the lower-end that seems to be so often lacking in this type of thing. Arranged into 6 separate but not entirely jarring sections, the splash of opener ‘Light Fades’ meets you mid-climax and proceeds to set the tone, advancing slowly upwards towards a tense progression and back down again.
‘Until We Reach’ is a great example of the understated power of Refraction – managing to melt hooks and grinding dissonance together into some sort of upbeat, yet still horribly depressing cocktail. The guitar and bass move in their own direction, often totally independent of each other, and sometimes can be found creating polyrhythms on top of the drums.
There is a definite feeling of planning and cohesion to this – like each section was a fully-formed concept entirely before anyone played a note or picked up a stick.
If you enjoy Isis, Slint or Neurosis you should line this up, but be warned – it takes time to grapple with and you shouldn’t expect cheap thrills and instant gratification. This one would rather you met its family first, but rest assured, it will eventually put on a cape and ride you on the roof of the house.