[14th July 2013]
01. Trick of the Light
02. Air Superiority
There has been a three year gap between the release of Berkshire-based instrumental trio Heights‘ last release, From Sea To Sky and the new Trick Of The Light EP.
This is undoubtedly due to drummer Jay Postones being tied up with his other band, Tesseract. You should look out for them, I think they’re going places. It’s probably a further indication of the lack of available time that Jay has for Heights that this two track EP was written and recorded in just a few days.
But however hurriedly Trick Of The Light was written and recorded, the only thing other than the band’s admission that points to the speedy turnaround is its brevity, with just two tracks clocking in at a shade under eleven minutes between them.
Picking up where From Sea To Sky left off, this pair of tracks offer up progressive rock from the gentler end of the sonic spectrum. Guitarist Al Heslop opts for warm, clean tones without a distortion pedal in sight. There appears to have been a fairly minimal use of overdubs, so these tracks could be comfortably performed acoustically.
The absence of a vocalist also gives the interplay between the guitar and John Hopkin‘s bass room to breathe. Jay’s drumming is also relaxed and understated. The tracks are also slightly deceptive, in that they are feel almost instantly accessible. However, when you start paying attention to the twisting time signatures, you realise that these tracks carry with them somewhat more substance than some jangly background music. Both tracks have subtle complexities that gradually reveal themselves through repeated listens.
The EP is soothing and absorbing, and over far too quickly. By far the biggest problem with Trick Of The Light is the conflict between form and content. Ten minutes is just enough to get nicely settled in with this type of music.
Of course, any release being too short is the very best type of issue to have, like being too rich or too sexy, so its not really much of a complaint.
With this in mind, Trick Of The Light is really best approached as either an introductory sampler to the band, or as a kind of expansion pack to be appended to From Sea To Sky, rather than a full release in its own right. The tracks would probably also be a welcome addition to a ‘lazy Sunday’ type playlist.
If Trick Of The Light was a test for a new approach for Heights, it was a successful one. The truncation of the writing and recording process lends the tracks a looseness and freshness, when so many songs of this nature suffer from being over-thought and fussy.
I suspect this success will give the band the confidence to repeat the process when Jay can find the time. I won’t be at all surprised if this opportunity doesn’t come until the end of an extensive touring cycle for Altered State, but I’m also pretty sure it will be worth the wait.
You can pick up a copy of Trick Of The Light on a Pay-What-You-Like basis here, or stream it below.