Ninetails are Jordan Balaber, Jacob King and Philip Morris. Hailing from Liverpool and signed to former Talk Talk manager Keith Aspden’s label, ‘Pond Life’, they are set to release their 2014 EP ‘Quiet Confidence’ in March of this year. A charged, eclectic album; Ninetails brings us a compilation that they have aimed at “reflecting on the concept of devotion, and how the notions and people we devote ourselves to shape our character”. The album brings together a superb soothing style that presents listeners ears with tracks of delicacy and skill that celebrates something of what it means to be human.
‘Radiant Hex’ is a mix of bright sounds and bold voices. If humanity could have a concrete sound, this, in its youthful suddenness and dark emotion all bound together, would most likely be it. In parts uplifting and starkly dark, there is a feeling of breathlessness. An edge which keeps it both upbeat and thrilling. ‘An Aria’ has a more weighted tone. Like dulled chaos in a dark room just before the light is suddenly switched on. The build up of this track is stunning. It seems split into two faces; as if the band are trying to distinguish between waxing and waning life experiences. The euphoria felt earlier is slowly being twisted and pulled apart. All this framed by a mournful, brass led, funeral march ending melody. Glacial and delicate ‘O for two’ has a sleepy opening phrase. It’s brought out of quietness by a lifting soul folk melody. Probably the most ‘pop’ of all the tracks so far, it doesn’t shy away from the effects of multiple mixing that the other tracks held. The recurring riff from previous tracks jolts the listener into subconsciously tying together repeated sections of music, instruments and melodies.
‘Quiet Confidence/Pure Utopian Moment’ is something of a study in contrast to the previous tracks. Moreover, this is a track of contrasts — soft and smooth versus gritty and grating. It effectively adds a different, electrified and edgy twist to their established sound. There are similar themes in ‘Hopelessly Devoted’. But this track, in a similar way to the others, hopes to inspire yet another emotion in the listener. It is this album’s moment of reflection. Warped raw vocals and melodic piano, stop it from being too much of a pop track. While the brass baseline continues, giving the same feel, but not quite the same auditory reaction. ‘Sinn djinn’ is darker and not just in name. There are some jarring discord melodies and instrumentals throughout. Flip your ears back to the beginning of the album and this track is bordering on an echo of a similar chaos. ‘Sinn Djinn’ remains just as ornate in composition. It is more refined, more direct and slightly harsher on the ears in terms of tone, yet builds a lot more subtly. This whole track feels more as if it is the sticking point for the ebb and flow of the sound ‘Ninetails’ have crafted. What really makes this track and indeed the whole album stand out, is the brave and abrupt ending. It’s executed to startling effect. Shifting from the almost painful noise of previous sections to a sudden deafening silence. Really sinking home the cinematic feel of the whole album.
Verdict: True musicians devoted to sound. Chilled out pop riffs and effective synth mixing makes for a sure and effective combination. A sound that aims to hit home on a meditative and emotive level. The album is prevented from being sheer noise by crafty mixing and smatterings of thought-provoking musicality. Best listened to; blared loud on headphones.