NOW THIS IS POST-ROCK. QUITE literally, as it happens. For, as Metrotone, Bristolian John Brenton and his Edinburgh-based partner, Anthony Harding, make their music by mailing tapes of sound to one another and then working off each other’s ideas. It’s a long-distance relationship, and judging by the muggy introspection of their debut album, things haven’t been going too well.
Then again the problems have been apparent from the outset; the duo’s early singles for Wurlitzer Jukebox and Bad Jazz lurched from sub-Jesus And Mary Chain jangling to rudderless excursions into noise, establishing a blueprint that ‘The Less You Have…’ wanders around, sniffs at, and then tries to fall asleep on. This, with its half-songs and blurred droning, is post-rock at its laziest.
Throughout this mercifully brief collection (just over 30 minutes), Metrotone cautiously reveal their wares only to discover that any tunes that might have once existed have been lost in the post. We’re treated, instead, to blizzards of whining noise (‘Floo’, ‘Five Consecutive Chords’) and whimsical, none-more-fey dithering with detuned guitars. Questions need to be asked, too, when the best song here, ‘Kyrie Eleison’, seems to be constructed entirely from recordings of children playing in fast-moving traffic.
It’s an old-fashioned approach, admittedly, but if these two sat down and worked things through together, then we might have a record worth writing about. As it is, they may as well send each other hate mail.