Review: Physics House Band ‘Horizons/Rapture’

At some point in the early hours of April 8th news reach The Ritz Hotel that both Us Baby Bear Bones and The Physics House Band would be releasing new material later that day. UBBB brought out a new video, while The Physics House Band were having their EP streamed a week before release (pre-order here). The excitement was clearly too much for Baroness Thatcher and she sucummbed to a stroke. She left in her wake a populace only interested in expelling gas from their mouths and smashing keys with their fingers in relation to dead Tories. This was not a good environment for announcements but This Is Fake DIY went ahead and streamed the EP anyway.

Horizons/Rapture is the debut release from really nice shirt pioneers The Physics House Band and it’s bloody well damned good. Despite harking back to a time when prog fans sat around on LSD discussing Star Trek diplomacy in Klingon (I assume this is what they done, it’s what I would have done), they’re one of the most exciting and interesting bands Brighton has to offer.

This isn’t some EP arsed out just to get some recordings into the public domain. This kind of thing takes preparation, planning and a lot of work. Horizons/Raptures works as one body; each track blends into the next and that’s always a smart touch to add. It’s refreshing to hear a debut product that has clearly been given a lot of thought rather than the usual rushed feeling most others have (not that that is always a bad thing of course).

It’s impossible to talk about The Physics House Band without commenting on just how talented all three members are. Major compliments have to be given to any drummer in a band who probably consider 11/7 a perfectly normal time signature. If you have no idea what that means just try and tap along to the sound of a modem connecting to the internet and then imagine doing that with a whole drumkit and not sounding like you’re having a fit. I’ve seen the band play live and I don’t think I heard the drummer, Dave Morgan, drop a beat, and that’s more than you can say for drummers in general, let alone ones playing this type of music.

That isn’t to take anything away from bassist, Adam Hutchinson, or keyboardist and guitarist, Sam Organ. They’re both still playing in this complex style at blistering speeds. Hutchinson is just so on it throughout that it’s incredible. Playing the lines and runs he does while emphasising the beats necessary takes an insane amount of skill. I would lay the blame of a prog band sounding danceable on him. Organ on the other hand has the speedy fingers of a pickpocket on cocaine. The pace he keeps on the keyboard is tiring just to listen to, while he throws out some incredible licks on the guitar which he smartly keeps sparse.

This whole EP is fraught with energy and, most importantly of all, power. This is what stands it apart from a lot of navel-gazing bands who are high on musicianship. This isn’t just about mental time signatures and impossible seeming flurries of dexterity; they’re not content to rely on that. This is about hard-hitting music that makes you want to throw yourself about a bit even if you miss the drop every time.

Mentioning that the band has prog, math or jazz influences will put some people off, but it shouldn’t. This isn’t pretentious music even though pretty much everything I’ve said suggests it should be. This is a fucking hard sounding band that have added some complexity to their sound. Why the hell should we all be settling for continuous 4/4 anyway? Go and bloody well challenge yourself for once, you cave-dweller.

As an end note, while looking up whether prog fans did talk about Star Trek all the time I discovered someone has in fact written prog songs dedicated to both Worf and Data. Are they better than Horizons/Rapture? The answer is yes.

By Joshua Danton Boyd