The Monster Mash

Angus Powell, Monsters EP:

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Wales — she’s like the shy sister of these cold waters.

Last year, she was spotted making a wind-swept appearance in the movie Submarine, exposing her fabled grey skies, hair-raising cold nights and desolate landscapes. Her Kingdom, famously dotted with pop royalties, including Under Milk Wood writer Dylan Thomas, and the always-indefatigable Manic Street Preachers, has exposed an underbelly sprinkled with rapt lyricism.

Now, step out from under the belly, Angus Powell.

Powell’s EP Monsters is a four-track taster of things to come from Powell’s debut album, expected 2013. It’s a tense listening throughout, and Powell’s lo-fi voice, which is slightly falsetto, sounds a lot like Elliot Smith trying to reach a high-note. Oddly when the Smith comparison relents in final track, Trenches, it is replaced by a voice, which in the opening lines sounds strangely likes Nico’s — who out there thought that All Tomorrow’s Parties would do a stop-off in Wales?

Without a doubt, the EP’s standout track is Special with its earnest chorus of, “You used to say that I was special, you used to swear we’d be okay, so how did I end up here today?” Powell’s voice is at its most melodic here, and the acoustic guitar, jingle-y tambourine and backing vocals make Special the most finger-tapping track of the lot.

Opening track Monsters combines Powell’s high-pitch, quiet vocals with a tinkling piano that grows and grows over the song’s three-minute run-time. Upside Down on the other hand shows off a sweet guitar refrain complete with atmospheric sounds, hinting at an interest in detail and layer.

Powell’s EP will certainly strike a chord with many listeners. One even wrote on his SoundCloud, “These lyrics are devastatingly real… They hit home hard.” For a newbie, Powell certainly shows promise.

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