Reese are a strange beast, mixing progressive rock, alternative and even melodic rock (the latter somewhat incongruously) in a way that suggests they’re not yet exactly sure what they should be. The results are somewhat mixed on this three track EP, offering any number of beguiling possibilities but not quite fulfilling the promise that is hinted at.
‘Under the carpet’ offers up three tracks, each one clocking in at about four minutes. The first track, ‘present’ mixes up a post rock opening gambit (all heavy guitars and cacophonous noise), a verse that references At the drive in and a jazz break down that seems beamed in from another universe altogether. Ostensibly it is progressive rock, borrowing tropes from other genres along the way (as progressive rock is so often inclined to do), but it doesn’t hang together as well as it might. It is well produced and very well played, but the crushing opening riff only serves to highlight the comparative lightness of the music elsewhere in the song with the result that it sounds weaker than I suspect it actually is. Another aspect which will undoubtedly prove musical marmite to listeners are the vocals which are located in the same ballpark as the Mars Volta and therefore likely to prove controversial. Nonetheless it is an intriguing piece of song writing that would, perhaps, benefit from stepping back from the kitchen sink approach and developing at least a uniform sound, if not style. On that note the second track, ‘under the carpet’, actually works much better for that very reason. With a far more cohesive sound, the stylistic elements work much better and nothing sounds disproportionately heavy or weak. It’s a much better track all round and a far better indicator of what Reese are capable, the band even throwing in (and getting away with) a rather funky Genesis pastiche in the song’s mid-section. ‘Until you get lost’ rounds out the EP with some light, shimmering guitar work only to slip sideways into pure hard rock territory with crunchy riffs and a grittier vocal than found elsewhere on the release. It’s another track which shows great promise, and there is no question that given time and money, Reese could really start to shine.
Overall ‘Under the carpet’ is an intriguing EP that offers much but which does not quite deliver, although it comes close. The opening track is the weakest, the disparity in sounds proving its downfall, the final track the strongest, so ultimately the EP does leave you wanting more, which is always key. The vocals, I suspect, will be an issue for some although I personally like them and they are delivered with admirable passion and gusto. The playing is uniformly excellent, and there certainly no question that Reese don’t have the necessary skills to acquit themselves admirably in the future. With a touch more cohesion and the opportunity to spread themselves over a full album, rather than cram all their ideas into fifteen minutes, Reese have the potential to become very good indeed, but for now this is an intriguing introduction to a band of whom I hope to hear more.