Core of iO
Part III: Ganymede
3rd February 2017 – Self-release
We are big fans of the ‘little and often’ release strategy, especially for bands writing complex, technical music; getting to grips with a small clutch of songs is a much less daunting proposition. Perky South Coast progsters Core of iO seem to agree; first coming to our attention in early 2014 with their debut EP With Gravity As My Hostess, it was quickly followed up by a pair of stand-alone singles and underpinned by a procession of tremendously enjoyable live performances. In 2015, they embarked on what was obviously going to be a four-part series of EPs, counting down from Part IV: Callisto.
The more astronomically astute among you will have already noticed the titular theme: working their way through the moons of Jupiter. The chronologically literate will have clocked (ho ho) that there’s been something of an issue with the second half of the ‘little and often’ equation, in that it’s taken quite a lot longer than anyone, the band included, thought it would to see the light of day – but, whatever the cause of that delay, it’s here now.
Ganymede probably contains the most complex songs Core of iO have written to date, but this is somewhat tempered by the fact that Ganymede is short. With just three tracks, if you sit down to listen to it in your lunch hour, you’ll be able to blast through it five times and still have enough spare time to grab a coffee and pop off for a cheeky ‘comfort break’. Nevertheless, given the wealth of ideas the band have crammed into these three songs, you are unlikely to feel short-changed.
Perhaps the most noticeable distinction between this trio of tunes and Core of iO’s previous output is in the overall tone. The upbeat vibe, which at times verged on pop-punk levels of exuberance, has morphed into something a little bit darker. However, the change is not so pronounced that the songs won’t feel out of place in a set alongside older favourites.
The songs are still melodic, but those melodies are a little less obvious than in the past, too. So it takes a good few listens to properly familiarise oneself with precisely what is going on. In particular,
“Surrounded” has an outro that only the extremely confident would attempt to nod along to.
All of this adds up to a clear indication that Core of iO are continuing to grow and mature. They’re clearly no slouches at their respective instruments, and are fully capable of showcasing these talents within actual songs, rather than indulgent prog odysseys. Effectively, the end of Ganymede marks the half-way point in a four part journey, and the signs are strong that it will build to a genuinely grand finale.