Album of the week: Equal Unequals to Equal by tfvsjs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 10:19am

Equal Unequals to Equal
White Noise Records
4 stars

Hong Kong post-rock band tfvsjs have released their first album 10 years into their musical career - and it's worth the wait.

Equal Unequals to Equal is a cohesive, sophisticated album, even if the band's name seems like a jumble of letters. But once you know the meaning behind it, this also becomes memorable. It's a nonsense word created from the pronunciations of the Cantonese for "decadence" and "vitality", with the English "versus", in the middle, coming together to form "decadence versus vitality".

The album comprises precise, complex and tightly composed tracks, which manage to retain a frenzied, runaway feel. It undulates in mood - from joltier flurries of quick guitar work and heavy drum beats, to careful breaks and pauses and softer, more contemplative, moments. Days of Daze, for example, is a dizzying mixture of frenetic, upbeat guitar contrasted with more downtempo sections. Its intensity is representative of the rest of the album, with every track featuring suspenseful build-ups.

Each of the seven tracks has its own narrative: building, climaxing and mellowing - although not always in that order. And this is another great thing about tfvsjs - you don't know what to expect next.

It's refreshing to hear such original instrumental music coming out of Hong Kong - and tfvsjs will be one of the must-see acts at the Clockenflap festival later this year.

Amy Russell