No, I’m not talking about the legend that is Paul Simonon smashing his bass in that photograph just because he was feeling a little uneasy during a gig. I mean, of course, Ex-Easter Island Head; a Liverpool-based band who also enjoy whacking guitars albeit with more finesse than Paul did on that hazy autumnal day in New York but with no less vigour.
Their debut album Mallets Guitar One has been out for nearly three years now yet the lack of recognition they’ve received (in most quarters anyway) is depressingly sad. Now it may seem as if these guys are likable just because they have an obscure way of playing the guitar but if you listen to either of their LPs, you’ll realise the mistake in your presupposition.
Sure, it’s mesmerizingly entertaining to see these guys craft a sparkling array of reverberations that are not only surprisingly organic but the chilling drones plunge you into an evocative world that tingles every fibre of your body. It may not be immediately accessible and in that sense, you can understand why they haven’t quite taken off.
The debut was recorded live in a church – you can feel the echoing spaces amplify the beguiling timbre. It was a decision that has really contributed to the otherworldly sound of Ex-Easter Island Head. If you have just listened to their debut album, you might be thinking “there’s only three tracks and there’re not even that long”. But worry not further; a second LP, Mallets Guitar Two/Music For Moai Hava, came out two months ago.
Featuring yet more of those polyrhythmic beats and bruised guitars, it’s simply E-EIH exercising a compositional range that is now more polished and experimental. However, there is also a fifteen-minute percussive orchestra in the guide of ‘Music For Moai Hava’ which required the help of 27-piece a.P.a.t.T such is the sonic depth within it. As a result, be expected to hear something so powerful you wonder whether they’re trying to conjure spirits from lost worlds.
People who own vinyl often tell others of it analogue nature and organic depth. But I’m sure I’ve heard a band more suited to vinyl than E-EIH. But not everyone has a record player, so instead I’ll leave you with a video that highlights spell-binding quality of whacking things.