Review: Swords/Drahla - "Split"

Swords/Drahla - Split
(2015 Self-Released)

My most memorable Bandcamp finds tend to be those free of the cult of indie-rock personality, quietly lurking in the depths of the "bedroom pop" and "shoegaze" tags. I've always enjoyed that the internet has given artists the ability to don goofy and surreal new identities, and sometimes I feel that the the most powerful persona to project is the complete lack of one. When band photos, interviews and twitter accounts are often a click away, to be faced with nothing stops me in my tracks. Even after piecing together the few scattered scraps of digital documentation I could uncover surrounding this gritty morsel of lo-fi pop, the only sort of background I can give you on this split cassingle is that it was recorded somewhere in the United Kingdom, divided between two mysterious projects that appear to consist of the same members. I don't know their names, and I'm completely OK with that. Their music speaks for itself in strange and beautiful dialects. 

Swords' side of the tape pairs an odd coupling of funky rhythms (tinny drum machine and bouncy bass) with nebulous pulses of brass-like keyboard. In a way, it reminds me of a more eerie version of Wild Nothing's newer material - at times it even gives off some strong Ariel Pink vibes. Billy Corgan-esque vocals definitely have me leaning towards the Wild Nothing side though. Though Swords' offerings are catchier, Drahla's are a bit more captivating and creepy. "Stereo Maze" plods along on a dissonant guitar riff and a spooky synth melody that resembles a goofy sound effect that might appear in an early 00's PC game for kids. "Ethernet" is a surprisingly delicate tune, forming a dreamy soundscape from crunchy drum hits and fuzzed-out keys.