EP Review: Richard Neale's 'Growth & Decay'

EP Review: Richard Neale's 'Growth & Decay'

'Growth & Decay' is the latest EP from southern-England based alternative musician Richard Neale. This is his fifth recorded release, and he’s been making “electronic, folk-tinged oddness” for 15 years.

If you have a good pair of headphones this is going to be a real treat for your ears, because this set of electronica fusion tracks is sheer genius in the way it’s produced and mastered. With this in mind, it’s not only Neale that should take the plaudits for this creation, but also James Plotkin for mastering them.

'Growth' is a track that starts with cute delicate piano melodies infused with a rousing drum beat, dramatic choral samples, and keyboards underlined with white noise static. This concoction gives the listener a paradoxical feeling of calmness alongside an exciting feeling of anticipation.
Listening to this track conjured up an image in my imagination of it being performed onstage with a genteel choir standing at the back of the stage, and along the front a chorus line of musicians playing all manner of instruments and non-instruments while stomping their feet, and towards the end they exit the stage one by one to leave just a lone piano player playing out to the end.

'Decay' is a complex and less emotive track than its partner track. You can’t help but have a guessing game to try and identify all the sounds being made. This song may have less emotion on the surface, but it still holds the listener's complete attention for the full eight minutes; wondering what sound is going to be played in the next bridge or what speed it’ll be.
The kinetic structure to it feels like it should be the theme tune to an exciting scandi-noir detective series...

For those fans of his previous releases like 'EVES', this new EP is unmistakeably Richard Neale; the hallmark of gentle, steady percussion laid beneath heavy industrial sounds knitted together with choral samples throughout is all there.
However, 'Growth' and 'Decay' have a fresher energy to them, and there’s a further selection of sounds added in that are hard to define but sound like they’ve been taken from everyday objects or surroundings.
Every time you play these tracks you’ll hear something you missed before, and they’re both around eight minutes long which means you’ll get your money’s worth. In fact, I’ve played the EP five times just while writing this review and I’ll be clicking the play button a lot more because it’s almost addictive!

'Growth & Decay' is released on the 16th of November 2018 by Rain Bear Records, and will feature both tracks along with an edited version of 'Decay'.
Although it will be available from Richard Neale’s bandcamp page, you can also buy the CD with special hexagonal packaging from a few independent record shops such as Banquet Records,
where Richard will be playing live at the EP release gig on 14th of November.

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