[sic] Magazine

Component#4 – A Sentence EP

Component#4, otherwise known as Mike Rowley, is a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with epic45 and My Autumn Empire. ‘A Sentence EP’ follows the release of his debut album …Into Memory…, which was released in 2015.

‘Crash’ kicks things off with a looping 3/4 synth sound. The track slowly builds with additional synth layers added and also synthesised vocals that commence a couple of minutes in. Unfortunately for me, the track projects a cold and somewhat clinical image and possesses an atypical song structure, using the same repeating chord sequence throughout.

During ‘The Arrest’, I seriously struggled to shift “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew out of my head, the vocal similarities being so similar throughout the chorus section. In addition, the drum track is far too high in the mix – it also feels slightly disjointed when coupled with the other instrumentation during the first half of the track. However, there’s also a ‘but’ – the song markedly improves around halfway through when it takes on more of an ad-lib feel. In fact, much more could have been made of the second half, particularly with regards to layered vocals and possibly the addition of an acoustic guitar.

‘Sweatbox’ fares much better. It has a nice post-rock feel and even comes across a bit like The Workhouse or Editors. The drums here work really well and also the reverb piano adds a lot of depth to the track. It’s the standout track on the album. If the album were full of tracks of this quality I’d literally be glowing with praise.

Next up, ‘Education’ features layered vocals along with a synth throughout, but once again the drums are too high in the mix and make the track feel more like a demo – I find myself focusing on them far too much. I would have like to seen a more laid back feel to this track, rather than the somewhat clinical feel which it projects.

‘Showers’ is executed really well. Like ‘Crash’, it’s another builder of a track, but this time it’s delivered in a much more menacing – even claustrophobic – manner.

The closer, ‘On Tag’, is far more restrained and understated. There’s an underlying sadness to the track. The reverberated piano works really well throughout (and sounds beautiful too).

Overall, the collection of tracks feels like a hotchpotch of ideas. In several instances (particularly ‘Sweatbox’ and ‘Showers’), tracks really burst into life; In others (‘Crash’, ‘Education’), tracks feel like they would benefit from more ideas or an improved mix. However, if Rowley can deliver tracks of the quality of ‘Sweatbox’, there are reasons to believe that the next Component#4 release will nail it.