Words by Kash Sunghuttee
Release Date – 19th February 2013
Rating – 8/10
It’s kind of a counterintuitive idea that dressing well involves more than just buying nice clothes. To make sure you don’t look like your Mum dresses you, it’s important to develop a good wardrobe. The idea is that if your wardrobe contains enough classic, well-fitting elements, then you will be incapable of putting together an outfit that looks bad.
People that dress well have classic wardrobes. People that dress really well tend not to need them. Daniel J W!shington probably doesn’t even have a wardrobe. He probably has carnival costumes stapled to his bedroom walls. He probably leaves the house in spandex and a leather jacket, strutting down the streets of L.A daring people to look him in the eye. To clarify a laboured metaphor; W!shington borrows sounds from everywhere, creating one of the more interesting EP’s I’ve listened to in a long time.
QALQULATED is essentially a pop EP with a very large sonic vocabulary. The first track; ‘Glisten And Wither’, probably wouldn’t be out of place on a Darwin Deez album. ‘Glisten and Wither’ pretty much sets the tone for the other songs on the EP, consisting of chopped up samples, W!shington’s boyband-quality voice, and intensely singable melodies. ‘Glisten and Wither’s relatively complex structure is reminiscent of Say Anything or fun.’s first album. The song progresses naturally, as it needs to, and it works. It’s nice to see an artist in this genre straying from the traditional structure of verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus.
‘Giving Me My Hand’ is the second of three tracks on this short EP. It’s the most upbeat track on offer here, and a lot of excitement comes from the constant crescendo, but this doesn’t save it from being the weakest track on the EP. W!shington does sort-of-kind-of rapping, fuzzy electric guitars wail, myriad sounds pop in and out of existence. It’s by no means unpleasant to listen to, but the madness never really crystallises into anything particularly memorable.
Luckily the next track, ’Stealing’, more than makes up for any past failings. ’Stealing’ is kind of a hard sell, but it’s also utterly brilliant, so bear with me. It’s kind of like a really, really good Funeral For a Friend song, if they were less petulant, and had field microphones, and stopped trying to market themselves towards the tween demographic. All the hallmarks of something you’d hear on Kerrang a few years back are there; emotive vocals, sudden changes in volume, dancing guitar lines, ominous changes in tone. He’s taken all the good things about songs like that, removed all the shit parts, added a lot of ingenuity, and created something great. He’s even used real firework samples as percussion. Brilliant.
I was going to write a long paragraph here about the difference between ingenuity and quality and whether I was being too kind to this EP because it’s innovative. I didn’t end up doing that, because even if QALQULATED were terrible, it’d be interesting enough that it would be worth listening to anyway. Fireworks as percussion, seriously.