We Cut Corners don’t do extravagance. Anyone who bought their debut album ‘Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards’ with its short running length and tight sound could testify to that. That minimalist ethos has influenced new album ‘Think Nothing’ at least in regards to its running time, clocking in at a barely-there 27 minutes. But this time around their sound has expanded – it is fuller and brighter, incorporating a range of new techniques without ever deviating from their recognizable brand of music.
Opener Wallflowers is an exemplar of this brighter music. The gentle vocals, peeled-back acoustic guitar and swirling strings all culminate to produce a tender, heartfelt song. It is quickly followed by Blue, which knocks that melancholy smile off your face – it’s all pounding drums and guttural guitar. Thematically the album appears to be about disintegrating relationships, whether between friends or lovers. The songs drift from melancholy and sweet to coarse and almost brutal. Maybe in the future and This is then are the embodiment of this trend. The former is hauntingly beautiful, full of cascading strings and a voice of pain – if poetry had a sound, it would be this. The latter is the opposite – coarse music meets pissed off lyrics: I would hurt you if I could/ I would hurt you if I could. Often this style can have a sickening effect on the listener; the difference can be too jarring – but not here. We Cut Corners have kept the production tight and the change in music gives us an in-depth look at the psyche of the protagonist – at once happy; now, not so much.
Then there are songs which you simply lie back and enjoy for their let loose style and witty lyrics, such as Mammals ‘batting your eyelashes like camels’ and Overtures ‘pretending you’re nice/ is a useful device/when you are dealing with people/who may want to kill you’. Easy Thief is the stand out track among an album of stand out tracks. It is a song of serene music, but with a beating, pulsing heart of unbridled feeling – at once powerful and tender.
WCC may have kept their album short but they have not skimped on the passion or emotion. You will be hard pressed to find an album that offers up more raw talent, wit, musical flair and emotional insight. Conall Ó Breacháin and John Duignan have produced an album of epic scale in minimalist packaging, it is a true gem of musical craftsmanship. And in an age of downloadable everything it is endearing to see such beautiful artwork being produced for the cover of the record. Wish the album was longer? Stick it on repeat!
Think Nothing is out now in Ireland and will be released in the UK on May 12 on Delphi Records. They play The Button Factory in Dublin on May 9.