Little Sleep is the third release (following 2007′s Eyes, and the Pascal EP released earlier this year) from Dunfermline’s “ecclesiastical rock” quartet, The Scottish Enlightenment. The lead track is taken from their forthcoming debut album St. Thomas, due in November, and this 5-track EP give us a brief taste of what we can expect.
‘Let It Sleep’ opens with evangelical guitar riffs, over a Salvation Army snare, and pretty much explains that unusual “ecclesiastical rock” epithet right from the off. It’s a cavernous sound, that would grace many a cathedral, though the vocals, are contrastingly much more restrained and muted. It’s the latter third of this song that really makes it, as it gallops away on a soaring instrumental crescendo that wouldn’t be out of place on an Yndi Halda or early Mogwai epic.
‘Get My Limousine’ is a knowing dig at the whole X Factor circus, in which song-writer David Moyes still somehow manages to drop in a name-check for Stephen Malkmus. Quite appropriate, considering that the song rolls along with a gorgeous, lounging melody that’s spookily reminiscent of Pavement. It’s an infectiously good little tune, which could have made a decent lead track itself.
‘Drip Feed’ is an altogether different thing that it’s predecessors. A meditative, piano-driven piece, it never quite gets to where you expect it might be going and feels like a lull in the proceedings when placed right here in the middle of the EP like this. Perhaps a better album-track, where it might have less of a prominent position and provide a reflective relief. ’When You Hate Me’ raises the volume, but not the pace. Darker and heavier than elsewhere on this EP, it’s a rewarding piece but doesn’t really do a great deal to lift that aforementioned lull.
The EP closes on a high with the airily romantic ‘St. Germain is Thick Tonight’. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and that majestic, reverberant guitar which The Scottish Enlightenment seem to do so well makes a welcome re-appearance as we’re carried up and onward towards the satisfying climax.
As a glimpse into what we can expect from the forthcoming album, Little Sleep is a tempting tease of an EP. I’m still not exactly sure where The Scottish Enlightenment are planning to take us, but I’m rather looking forward to finding out…