By Lesley Macdonald

Who’s that drummer? Who sounds this established when they only formed in 2015? Who produced this? Have I gone mad or is this Sigur Ros?

With all the questions, conflicting opinions and aggressive self-talk assailing my brain, it’s clear that ‘Death Of Me’ has done a stellar job as an opener to this EP, only the second extended offering from South African trio Far From Who We Are since their formation. The Heynes brothers – Johan (vocals, guitar, synth) and Maarten (bass), alongside THAT drummer, Kyle Williams, originate from the exotic sounding town of Benoni in South Africa. Not actually that exotic, Benoni is an ex-gold mining town, now known for its steel and iron and brass works. Nevertheless, I have a hunch that something a little more exciting is about to emerge from within.

Like I said, ‘DOM’ makes a very good first impression, with epic rhythms that run off, enticing you to follow, only for them to turn round and face you down. Yes, it is indeed like “a maze that I can’t seem to escape”. The guitars are hard and heavy, pushing you forward but they are tempered at points by synth melodies. As the liquid tones of Johan’s vocal arrive you might feel a flash of irritation only to be drawn, willingly, in. The interruption to the aggressive rhythm becomes gradually acceptable and even, shudder… welcome.

And it’s a rabbit hole indeed as the other-worldly introduction to ‘Rise’ transpires and conspires to tighten the hold. Melodic and instinctively memorable, the quality of the production is particularly evident here. Each layer is clear and crisp without losing the impact of the sound, without washing it out. The only criticism I have is that the vocals are occasionally less prominent than I would like against this backdrop. The alluring quality of the songs remind me of COLD.

‘Sleep in Shadows’ continues in a similar vein as it tells the story of feeling more than a little unsettled by who you have become. Notable about this track, which talks about burning the candle at both ends, is the guest appearance of multi-instrumentalist and producer (and record label boss) Gideon Kretschmer (Wonderwolf), known for his ‘sound landscapes’ and the outro which is borderline electronica and reminiscent of a 5am finish to a night that you’ll either love to remember or wish you’d forget.

‘This Is A War’ is a strange one. It is a war, in my head. One minute I like it, the next I don’t. It’s almost too soft, vocally especially for a song with this title. Guest vocals from another South African producer, Nicolas Gonzales may be to blame. Yet the rhythms are believable. It’s not bad.

Then there is ‘Polluted’, and something in the water has transformed Far From Who We Are into Sigur Ros. No, really. You’re not tripping. After I find my footing again, I realise I don’t dislike this. Actually, the shift is quite impressive… but then at one point I did like Sigur Ros.

If it hasn’t been clear before now. I’ve really enjoyed this E.P. If the talent, production and range  isn’t a clear indication of the potential of this band then #wtfdoIknow?  FFWWA, a band that ‘brings the heavy and the heart’ and a band that definitely knows a few good producers. Can’t hurt, can it? HopePunk is surely onto a winner here. Fingers crossed.

  • ‘Sleep In Shadows’ is released on Friday (2 July). You can get your copy HERE.

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