The Illness – Descending G / Phrases Redacted (Sea Records)

The Illness – Descending G / Phrases Redacted (Sea Records)

The debut singles from The Illness are some groove-laden and off-kilter Americana offerings featuring Steve West and Bob Nastanovich (Pavement / Silver Jews) and released on 12″ via Sea Records. 

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The Illness - Descending G / Phrases Redacted coverArtist: The Illness (feat. Steve West and Bob Nastanovich)
Tracks: Descending G / Phrases Redacted
Label: Sea Records
Released: 10 July 2020
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify

More than 5 years worth of scrapped sessions has gone into the mix for the first 2 tracks from The Illness, a band formed from members across the Sea Records roster (Ambulance, Avenging Force, Wolf Solent, Broken Arm, Alisia Cooper).

As a pairing there’s some fine Americana underpinning the experimental alt-rock, and there’s the added interest of vocal from Pavement alumni Steve West and Bob Nastanovich too.

Descending G is the best new slice of the good old times we’ve heard in a while. Wide-skied and managing to be both punchy and laid-back, through precision rhythms and distorted melodies. With gloriously pastoral flutes, a touch of neo-psychedelics, and warm, fun, fuzziness. It’s a straight-up winning piece of slacker rock.

Phrases Redacted has a real feel of early-period REM, as Bob Nastanovich (Pavement / Silver Jews) speak-sings both sides of a conversation and reveals an increasingly chaotic inner monologue as tumbling rhythms are pinned by chugging riffs. The Willy Wonka-esque externalisation of thoughts and seemingly lost threads carries through a song which strays from the alt-rock track to throw in some thrillingly off-kilter instrumentation. It’s not unlike being thrown around on the waltzers while lights pop and snatches of language reach your humming ears. Disorientating but exhilarating in equal measure.

Taken together the two tracks are a fine introduction to an exciting new band. Let’s hope the next new music from them doesn’t take so long to reach the light.

The limited edition 12″ is available now from the Sea Records website. Remixes are set to follow from Game Program, Stuck Sunsets & S T A P Y L T O N. Cover art by Whitney Courtney Nastanovich.

Find The Illness: Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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