Sheffield four-piece 65daysofstatic produce unfailingly engaging instrumental dance-infused post-rock, with often ludicrous song titles (cf. ‘Install A Beak In The Heart That Clucks Time In Arabic’ and ‘The Distant And Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties’).
Their recently released album We Were Exploding Anyway is no exception. When I caught up with keyboardist Paul Wolinski over a crackly phone line to Reims, he suggests that it represents “a fresh start, we think we’ve found something new for us.” While he remains “really proud” of their previous records, he says that “after the last album we felt like we’d hit the end of one chapter.”
He’s partly right. While the epic scope and powerful, almost grungy, riffs remain in place, there is much that has changed. Opener ‘Mountainhead’ bursts in with an off-kilter drum beat that rears its animalistic head at various moments throughout the track. It’s a dramatic beginning and one that seems to discard the traditional 65daysofstatic angry-insect-swarm percussion style.
However, the major change (a fuller shift to the dancier end of their sound) is embodied by the majestic ‘Tiger Girl’, a looping and weaving ten minute dance opus. The song, Paul argues, is significant because of its simplicity. “‘Tiger Girl’ is a really big deal for me. We’ve been listening to a lot of Underworld and Orbital, and to pull off a simple 4/4 kick drum song is more impressive as it’s easy to sound impressive with crazy programming.”
So, for this song at least, there is a definite deliberate move from complicated time signatures to a slightly more simple dance sound. Paul agrees that “some old fans might be disappointed with the new record – but that would be a shame.”
Greater simplicity is not a constant throughout the album, however, as demonstrated by ‘Go Complex’, which uses samples reminiscent of tortured children before storming into visceral drum ‘n’ bass synths. It sounds like Pendulum DJing a Josef Fritzl house party. It is brilliant. The band released their new album on Hassle, a move away from their previous record label, Monotreme.
Paul describes the departure as “completely amicable,” as Monotreme serves to promote smaller bands and so the “relatively more successful” 65daysofstatic would have been expensive to continue to push – they needed to “step up to the next level.” Will such a step mean that they will forsake their traditional environmental activism (admittedly a hard point to push for a band without lyrics)? Their message remains simply that humans “all need to stop doing a lot of stuff really, really quickly if we’re not going to ruin the future entirely”, but “the change has got to come from above because no-one’s going to do it voluntarily.”
However, “no-one who’s got a chance of winning the election is saying anything different from ‘protect the economy at all costs.’” On a lighter note, greater commercial success will hopefully not stop them doing the odd bizarre gig – maybe an Oxford ball? They “did one in Derby…the promoter put us on as joke – we played right before a Scissor Sisters tribute act.” It was a strange experience of a “hard core of about thirty ‘65fans’ going crazy and then this huge room of very confused looking people in tuxedos.” He didn’t necessarily rule out a repeat though.
And if there aren’t any ball committee members who are fans, then hopefully Oxford will be a stop on their probable autumn tour.