Ninetails first came to this site’s attention via EDiLS Recordings’ fourth compilation, released earlier this year. Their contribution, Social Guesswork, was the best track on the record. The song’s combination of clever wordplay, excellent production and a perfect outro was both interesting and fresh. Fast forward a relatively short time later and Ninetails are very big news. Lauded across myriad publications in Britain, they are very much in ascendancy.
There is one common element permeating all of their press; the “math-rock” tag. Writing as somebody who understands the need for genre-naming but tires of its silly complexity, the term math-rock has passed me by in a suitably erratic fashion. Having to throw an artist into a semantic prison for no editorially justified reason makes little sense. If you feel you can’t get by without having sounds spelled to you, just use your ears; it’s music.
Simply deeming Ninetails math-rock does their overall sound, approach and style a massive disservice. Slept And Did Not Sleep (SADNS) runs the gamut from ambience, fear, devil-may-care attitudes to just plain invention. The EP possesses two very strong linchpins; Rawdon Fever and Mama Aniseed. The former is a sprightly number that crams enough influences and expression into it’s 3:52 running time (shortest on the EP) to keep you guessing for a good while yet. The latter is the record’s closing track and is a beauty of a kiss-off. It judders between various speeds and rhythms, as if it never wants to finish.
Ninetails are at their best when they are most open and approachable. SADNS has plenty of that, but also has one or two moment of self-indulgence. Body Clock shows a lot of promise early on but its degeneration into a well drawn-out noise pile stands as nothing more than a big loss for the listener. A relatively young band, Ninetails can be afforded such tricks when they can back it up elsewhere.
Reviewing The Fall’s Levitate, the NME remarked that the album was “art without the wank.” Much the same can be said about Ninetails. I’ve avoided using a Cat O’ Ninetails related pun thus far, but here’s where it all dies. This intriguing four-piece are ready to lash out. Make sure you’re not tied to the mast when they do.
Slept And Did Not Sleep can be purchased via Superstar Destroyer Records HERE.