Tense Men – Where Dull Care Is Forgotten (mini-album) (Faux Discx)
Tense Men are a new-ish U.K. post-punk act featuring members of Sauna Youth (read our review of the False Jesii Pt. II / Oh Joel single from December 2012), Omi Palon, and Cold Pumas – the latter who released one of our top 5 records for 2012, Persistent Malaise.
The band was initially formed as a two piece by Sauna Youth front man Rich Phoenix and Cold Pumas’ guitarist/vocalist Ollie Fisher back in Autumn of 2010. As a duo, Tense Men released an unnamed cassette on Cazenove Tapes and now, as a trio, the band are preparing the release of a new six-track mini album entitled Where Dull Care Is Forgotten.
At only 2:10 in duration, with its surf-rock beats and riffs, Stages of Boredom kicks things off in a gnarly way. However, the mention of the word surf should not be misconstrued as sunny. No, within seconds, Ollie Fisher adds his distinctive, monotone vocal melodies – as on show in Cold Pumas – and combined with the song’s raw but energetic production, the overall feel of Stages of Boredom is gritty and rather cold.
Going for the one-two-punch, the brilliant RNRFON ramps up the energy further. To be fair, RNRFON actually shares a very similar sound and vibe to that of Cold Pumas with its urgency and use of repetition to create hypnosis. Similarly, instead of key changes, RNRFON instead builds in intensity with every cycle. Without a doubt, the EP’s highlight track.
On Lie Heavy (Desperate Times), Fisher’s vocal harmonizes with the guitar riff to provide one of the catchier moments on the EP. Like RNRFON before it, Lie Heavy (Desperate Times) opts for repetition instead of traditional songsmarts, but is otherwise absent of the thrills of the previous track.
The title track – sans drums – is a drony number, centered around a looped bassline and accompanied by off-colour, discordant guitar notes and muffled vocals, but in which nothing quite happens.
Clocking in at nearly five and half minutes, Nonentities is the longest song on the EP and continues with a similar plodding nature as the aforementioned title track. With just one, meandering riff throughout the entire duration, and the rather apt chorus, “I’m tired of sleeping”, Nonentities does, indeed, sound like the work of insomniacs.
Delivering a much needed jolt of energy, closing number Opiate Glow doesn’t just match the pace of the first two tracks but completely accelerates ahead. A cascade of cymbals, buzzsaw guitars, and Ramones-style vocal hooks, Opiate Glow sounds like a long lost Warsaw demo tape. Brilliant stuff.
As mentioned – and for obvious reason – Tense Men share many similar qualities (least not the production) to Cold Pumas but – with the exception of Opiate Glow – as a whole are less urgent and claustrophobic and instead, more drony, and shoegaze-y. Put another way, Tense Men are like the more nausiating and nagging little brother of Cold Pumas. But the funny thing is Where Dull Care Is Forgotten is like that scab you know you shouldn’t scratch but you do so because you can’t stop yourself.
At the time of this post, Tense Men are also offering a free download of the track RNRFON via the Tense Men Soundcloud.
Watch the video for RNRFON below: