Monday, October 12, 2015

EP Review :: Nieves - Matriarch



October 2 2015 (self release)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

Glaswegians Nieves are an intriguing bunch. There are four of them, two of whom are guitarists, and yet you can hardly hear a single guitar throughout this four-track EP, their follow-up to last year's self-titled debut. You’re left wondering if two of them don’t like the other two very much, or if they just paid off the producer in some kind of prank.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem to adversely affect the quality, even if the overwhelming piano-and-drums rhythm does mean that they come over as a Scottish version of Keane at times. They certainly wear their roots on their sleeves, with Brendan Dafters’ burr seeming to become stronger with each passing track.
Opening number ‘The Knot’ is almost entirely driven by Herre de Leur’s piano, as Dafters twists his way through the melody, explaining the knot in his guts. That’s a motif repeated on second number ‘Legs and Arms’, where Dafters’ line "It was more than love that we lost tonight" is almost heartbreaking.

‘Empty Book’ is a slightly darker number, but also has the distinction of being the most forgettable number on show. Nieves redeem themselves, though, as former single ‘Black Tie’ brings proceedings to an epic, soaring close. Martin Murray’s guitar finally gets a bit of a workout as the song weaves an epically dark tale which is up there with anything Nick Cave has managed recently.

In short, this is an odd little EP which never quite does what you expect it to. Occasionally that doesn’t work, but overall a very promising sophomore record indeed and one that is enticing enough to guarantee interest in a full-length work -whenever Nieves may decide to present such.

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