Saturday 28 May 2016

Beggar - Shingles + House Of Man EP & Caramel Cigarette EP

I'm not the sort of person who wallows in self-pity and while reflecting on failed attempts to bring new blog ideas to fruition, I've been reminded of those people/bands who have been nothing but supportive of me and what I've tried to do with This Noise Is Ours. One such supporter has been Charlie of (now London based) sludge band Beggar. Beggar have just released a new EP called Caramel Cigarette and Charlie let me know about it recently, so here's a dual review alongside the 2015 EP Shingles + House of Man.

Shingles + House Of Man EP Tracklist:-

1. (Intro)
2. The Shingles
3. House Of Man
4. Gravedigger

The Intro forms part of The Shingles on the cd version. Its a stand alone track on the digital version though and its anticipation building. Beggar seem to have grown heavier since “Beggar II”. The Shingles is filled with thick and bass-heavy metallic riffs, as well as incredibly caustic screams and cymbal-heavy percussion. The screams feature more than a hint of black metal too, which is pleasant. House Of Man’s off-kilter time signature gives it an unnerving sense of menace. Beggar have always been experimental, but here they prove more so. The guitars provide a wall of engaging rage than you can’t help but mosh to. Add a bucket load of psych influence and you’re In for a treat! EP closer Gravedigger features some soaring guitar at the start. It’s still audible as the volume rises, but it soon gives way to allow Beggar time to really let loose. Gravedigger certainly feels like an experiment in catharsis. This whole EP works thanks to it’s brief yet hard-hitting approach. Beggar use the craft they’ve learnt from previous EPs and have created something really infectious.

Caramel Cigarette EP Tracklist:-

1. Grease The Treads
2. The Way Out
3. Pagan Behaviour
4. Caramel Cigarette

On to 2016 and Beggar's latest EP. The black metal inspired vox that appeared on the previous EP make an immediate appearance on Grease The Treads. There’s more blues and groove included, as well an amazing solo. Musically, you may not think they’re the same band, but progression is the name of game nowadays so deal with it!. The Way Out is chock full of epic guitar textures and tonnes more groove. the shorter playing time lends itself well to the band’s agency too. By the time Pagan Behaviour kicks in, you’ll be pretty much hooked on Beggar’s sound. With each song on Caramel Cigarette, they seem to get better and better.  The EP ends with the title track. Psych punches through the speakers and almost invokes the spirit of a certain Jimi Hendrix. It’s not long though before things get a whole lot heavier. You’ll no doubt hear similarities to some well-known bands here, but it’s easy to past them and focus on what Beggar presents. On it’s own it’s easy to justify why these guys are worthy of high praise. Subtle layers of ambience and many louder elements make this an easy EP to get along with. I really hope Beggar see fit to release a full-length sometime this year. 

You can stream both EPs below:-

CD versions of Shingles + House Of Man are available from Beggar's bandcamp page above, as well as digital versions of both EPs.

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