It has been a long time since I purchased a cassette. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m repellant to the format… from black shelled and orange-labeled BASF LH SMs to ubiquitous clear-shelled TDK D90s, I simply lived through it. As a result, I’m not inclined to be excited about it as a retro fetish. However, this isn’t about me, and the bottom line is that band economy matches the format to the hand that creates the racket.
Extravision members also fill the ranks of Dublin based bands Sissy, No Spill Blood and Surge… and possibly others… it’s hard to keep track sometimes. The band fairly effortlessly presented itself as one of the more creative and singular entities on the recently released Karate Klub compilation LP. Apart from knowing it existed and being aware of its willful throwback of a logo, this was my first exposure to the band. Up against a variety of gnarling and frothing underground sound bites, Extravision stood its ground with the embryonic but confident post-punk tones of “Don’t Wanna Be Here”.
This debut offering is a 5-track cassette, released via Art For Blind records.
The opening track, “Extravision” utilises an economic but robust lead bass and clean reverb guitar trick throughout. For all intents and purposes, it’s everything a fresh-faced Cure did right early on to carve a unique path for itself… although in Extravision’s case, the vocals are confident in where they want to go and steer the band well clear of the muddy footprints of convenient comparison. And so the stylistic tone of this release is pretty much set, continuing through “They Don’t Know” where the employ of dual vocals in parts is particularly effective. “Daylight” attempts something slower and although the structure is all there, it seems a little unsure of itself. Maybe it’s the constraint of a dry production suited to the upbeat material. A few layers/recording frills and it has the potential to juxtapose the other tracks here with something more experimental. “Repeat it” builds up into rigid stomping choruses conjoined by a staccato vocal and although it’s not quite the shortest track here, it seems to run its course very quickly. The cassette finishes off with the previously released track from the Karate Klub compilation LP “Don’t Wanna Be Here”. This remains the best and most fully formed example of what Extravision is aiming for creatively at this point.
If there’s an underlying negative, it’s that this thing is called “Demo”. Even if that’s what the cassette ostensibly is, it seems apologetic to put it out into the world titled to suggest a sort-of and sort-of-not first official release. It’s a habitual bad trait of metal bands, as if their DIY releases don’t count and they’re sitting around waiting to be discovered/signed… most likely why I have an aversion to seeing it on underground and independent releases.
Extravision is a compelling work in progress and there’s an inventiveness here I greatly appreciate. From a confident and economic start, the fluidity of post-punk could take this any number of ways. It’s not dark and druggy enough to be “Garlands” era Cocteau Twins, and it’s not psychedelic enough to be an early 80s Banshees, but it has DNA traces of both in there somewhere. The primary ingredients laid down here are raw and unprocessed, but Extravision leaves itself open to very many avenues of sonic exploration and I’m intrigued to follow as it all unfolds.