[sic] Magazine

People Of The North – Deep Tissue

On Deep Tissue Kid Millions and Bobby Matador remain indebted to the latter-day repertoire of their day-job outfit Oneida . Combining Millions’s drums with Matador’s keyboard and knob-twiddling skills, the long-standing People Of The North side project is naturally and heavily percussive, built on incessant rhythmic repeats. In contrast to Oneida, Deep Tissue, though marketed as a long-player, lasts only 36 minutes and spans only four tracks in that time.

Drawing from psychedelic jams, drone and hugely patient constructions, Deep Tissue’s lengthy instrumental passages periodically give way to shamanic vocals. The resultant sparse sprawl adds in potency with each repeat rather than with ad nauseam layering. Far from immediate therefore, Millions and Matador guide Deep Tissue through oneiric, if not Oneidic, realms. Their intangible vision is focused, if single-mindedly delivered.

The driving sludge of “Tunnels”, through which a touring van’s worth of equipment tries to make itself heard, fails to be boring despite lacking a clarifying sense of epic. Consequently, it’s an anti-epic assault which must surely sound awesome live – not that it sounds bad on record.

Its drum rolls and guitar screeches act as a blinding canvas on which more intricate flourishes blossom and ultimately perish. In this respect, and though less easily catalogued as psyche, discernible glassy-eyed links with the recent efforts of, say, Wooden Shjips can certainly be drawn, and perhaps also with the tranquilised oddness of Indian Jewelry .

The power of that opener is such that its instrumental state goes entirely unnoticed until a vocal drifts in announcing the grammatically unsound but gently simmering track “The Vastest Island”. Built on laser-like drone and drugged-out percussion, it peters out into an isolated drum repeat before filling out minutely with synthesised atmospherics, whispered incoherencies and speaker-bothering pulses.

The quick-fire drum machine throbs and monolithic crashes of “Summer Leaves” come on like some aural equivalent of an unfaltering strobe, but it remains interesting thanks to squalls of feedback and a ghostly chorus that arrives like a chilly sea mist. Together however, this middle order just doesn’t compare to that either side of it.

Deep Tissue is bookended by powerful statements. The crushing 14-minute finale “Over Me” builds on the “Tunnels” template, minutely evolving and successfully regressing a similar sound via cycles of aggressive drumming, fluctuating drone patterns, reprised guitar screeches and tortured vocals.

The further North you head, the colder it gets and the greater your chance of drinking in the famed Aurora Borealis. As People Of The North, Millions and Matador seem to have drunk in so much that they’ve passed out, Deep Tissue seemingly having been transmitted out of the trippy wilderness just as they began to flatline.

Advised downloads: “Tunnels” and “Over Me”.

Deep Tissue is out now on Brah / Jagjaguwar .

Listen & Learn – free mp3 via Jagjaguwar