A while ago I saw the Drax Project launch their first EP in a sell out show at one of Wellington’s fine music venue come restaurants; San Fran. With a combination of shoe gazing synth-pop, with alternative elements the Drax Project have a distinct sound worth investing in; now selling their debut album via Bandcamp this 4 piece are anything but a conventional band, extremely talented and tight, their musicianship and performance is undoubtedly refined and this is reflected throughout the self-titled EP. It’s polished, expertly mixed and mastered well; this EP doesn’t sound like the often rushed, initial foray into the physical world of music that many of today’s bands have.
At only $10 it could be slightly undervalued, the four tracks are all excellent, and each fit perfectly, creating an ambience that allows the EP to flow fluidly. An often forgotten task in the days of DIY recordings, it is clear that the band have had a hand or two in the production with Shaan Singh, the lead vocalist, being credited in the engineering of the EP. This type of artistic direction has lead to an EP that is not only feels complete but has also helps the Drax Project to stand out by carving it’s own sound.
Each track could probably stand alone as a single, but as previously stated, the 4 tracks complement each other nicely, and the intro tune placidly builds up into a crescendo that breaks down and opens the EP with ease. However, unlike many modern bands the Drax Project have not created a pretentious opening, it’s not a long synthesised build up that stinks of maestro masturbation, just pure musicianship that immediately showcases the vocalists incredible capabilities, the bands musical talent and the outstanding production behind the EP.
Once the second track gets going you instantly feel that you’ve entered the pop world of the Drax Project, a track that is more radio worthy than the rest of the EP, it feels well crafted and develops superbly, with only a few listens you already feel like singing along with the hook. Yet, in maintains the overall feel and sound that the band have created, and it has all the elements they showcased through out their launch gig but with that lovely studio varnish.
It drops out into the third which sounds like a B-side to the previous, this is no criticism, but rather points to the more progressive style with rapped verses from Wellington hip hop alumni and a more laid back overall approach that transgresses into indie style choruses. The song is populated more by of the instrumental diversity that lies behind the whole of the band and is a great ambassador for them. It showcases their sound, their talent and the production in a way that other tracks don’t and you get the impression that this is the most experimental of the bands tracks, where previously their own boundaries restricted them, this track leaves you an impression of what to expect form the band in the future.
Tying the whole EP together, the final track harks back to where the second left off, reminding you of the roots and direction of this band. It sums up what they’re about, a poppy track that ebbs and flows with the aural wave of the EP. It doesn’t exactly stand out as brilliantly as the others but it echoes their completeness as band, with their original individuality that seems almost effortless.
What impresses me about this EP, is that it’s short, sweet, well produced, without becoming over-produced and lives up to the immensely high standard that the band have when performing live. Often bands struggle to replicate one over the other, the Drax Project have no such issues, they’re equally at home on stage as they are in the studio, and with such a great freshmen EP you can really look forward to the next chapter in the bands evolution because that’s what this EP does, it premiers the band but leaves room for more.