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One Dimension (CD1)




SimianThe UK band, Simian, consists of James Ford, Simon Lord, Jas Shaw and Alex Macnaghten. Together, this fourpiece creates music that considers weirdness to be something of priority. This is evident on their EP entitled One Dimension.

The EP opens with the title track which is strange but poppy. This bouncy track comes together through the use of various odd sounds. Simian refers to their listeners as people who subscribe to the 'Church of Simian'. Well this maybe true but one thing that is also quite evident is that Simian got their origins by worshipping at the Cathedral of Pet Sounds. This classic Beach Boys album isn't just an influence on Simian, it seems to be the band's blueprint.

The use of non-traditional instruments isn't the only element of Pet Sounds used on One Dimension, Simian also borrows from the Beach Boys by filling the song with harmony that is so perfect it seems to fit into the music as if it were mathematical. Simian doesn't reserve its Beach Boys leanings exclusively to the opening track but also keeps many Pet Sounds qualities at the forefront of the other two songs on the EP, Over the Hills and Reasons.

Over the Hills is a dreamy track that sees the introduction of acoustic guitar to Simian's repertoire on this EP. This song also sees the Simian's first use of overlapping harmonies, which don't beckon the ghost of Pet Sounds but rather have more of a choir-like quality. These harmonies are hauntingly beautiful and are used in a way that is uniquely Simian's.

The real winner on this EP, though, is Reasons. This song starts with a folky guitar that could really fool listeners into thinking this track is a collaboration with Kings of Convenience. As soon as the gentle female vocals drift into the song, though, it becomes Simian's own weird creation. As the guitar and vocals fall away we are treated to Simian at its most bizarre and best. The song at this point becomes an interlude consisting of a drum, cowbell, and spoons. Well, I think its someone playing spoons, but to be honest I'm really not 100% positive what instrument is making this sound. The guitar and vocals soon return to bring the EP to a close.

I suppose that someone could see Simian's music as derivative of Pet Sounds or as a not-weird-enough sister of the Beta Band to be something different. I'm not going to waste my time though, this EP is too enjoyable. Everyone has their influences and peers, at least Simian has chosen to place themselves in fine company. OK, One Dimension isn't terribly original but that really isn't any reason to keep you from pressing the play button.

---Mike Tiernan, August 27, 2002