The opening EP, ‘Oppenheimer’ by Shattercones, released on 17th April 2020, is a diverse collection of music. It’s opening half offers more accessible song structures, whereas it's second half a cacophonous and experimental atmosphere. It is all performed brilliantly!
Opener and title track ‘Oppenheimer’ paints a picture of visually-arresting images. Lyrical allusions to the sky are matched by a sound that reaches over the horizon. This is largely thanks to the slide guitar and strings. Both are backed by more understated elements (a plaintive riff and backing vocals), at least until the song’s final climactic breakthrough and a breath-taking piece of guitar playing.
Second track ‘Love On Repeat’ is perhaps the most straight-forward offering here. Regret-filled lyrics take centre stage and these are again backed by an equally mournful slide guitar and viola.
After this, ‘Shattercones’,the song, is a more challenging proposition. This time the viola and guitar thrash and dance against each other over thunderous, tumbling drums and a booming, echoed vocal. The song is a filmic soundscape bringing to attention the visual nature of what Shattercones do. Their music is elevated by a creative use of visuals and this has ultimately led to it sound tracking everything from the Twin Peaks Festival in the UK to an installation at a Berlin cemetery. The striking, black and white art work is a piece called "The Architecture of Light" by Serge Najjar.
The closer ‘Starlings’ maintains the atmosphere but returns things to a more traditional song structure and, indeed, boasts a strong tune. It matches the modern with the traditional.
Scattercones were kind enough to share with us some of the inspirations for the EP. These included a world of obscure but brilliant reference points from overlooked but classic Gene Clark project Dillard and Clark, the pioneering Krzysztof Penderecki ("Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima") and, understandably, the Hans Zimmer film score to "Interstellar". Unsurprisingly, they described these touchstones as "gorgeous", "slow-burning", "unconventional" and "intense".
The same could be said for this EP. The band themselves appear to be a world you can immerse yourself in with a multi-media feast to delve into, at a time where you may have slightly more opportunity to do so.
Written by Matt Nicholson