Album Reviews


Abstract Mind EP

Artist:     Guides

Album:     Abstract Mind EP

Label:     Guidestracks

Release Date:     09/25/2015


Guides explores heavier rock aspects in September 2015’s six-track Abstract Mind EP compared to 2014’s debut self-titled EP. “Abstract Head” starts off the album with dark guitar, vocals, drums and lyrics. A moving bass is fluent throughout, fighting through the murk. Distorted sound waves lead into a slow, haunting electric guitar riff that floats like a nightmare underneath the lyrics: “dream on.” Subtle harmonies arrive from distant places, adding to the haze. The sonic texture leaves no room to breathe, filling up audial space to its boundaries unlike the airier self-titled disc. The foggy overlay continues with “Pictures on Pictures,” whose lyrics explore the phenomenon of a moment seeming to freeze in time. “You’re stopping time, or maybe I left myself. You’re stopping time. That’s how the moment felt” muses on the event, followed by chorus, “Time, time just stops in place, and I can’t tell you how. Love, it makes no sense at all. I can’t explain it. You’re on my mind, pictures on pictures on you’re on my mind, words on words on words.” The middle of the song resolves into a segment of subdued thrash metal before jumping back into the thick.

The guitar work of “Midas Eye” is notable, giving a nod toward the minor key strumming of 2000s rock songs, like Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” and Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” yet its quickened tempo creates a jazzier dynamic. “Can your art fill your arms?” asks vocalist and guitarist Chris Cogswell. Kristeen Young of alt-rock prowess since debut 1997 LP Meet Miss Young and Her All Boy Band serves as vocalist for last track, “Leave Me Alone,” which displays a deeply emotive sound, displayed prominently in the ending instrumental segment. The sonic wall is well-constructed, but hard to climb over.

-Kalyn Oyer

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