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Album Review
Couch EP

Couch EP
by F In Math

Flying Nun

Review Date
8th June 2011
Reviewed by
Gareth Meade

Seeing Michael Logie perform live as F In Math is a dynamic experience, buoyed by a sense of imminent chaos. Between his bass guitar, vocoder, laptop and various other technical paraphernalia, he creates a mess of electronic noise that is all the more intriguing for how enthusiastically he performs it. Clearly though, none of that is easy to translate onto record, and in attempting to do so, Logie has understandably struggled to bottle the lightning.

By no means is this phenomena limited to F In Math, whose debut EP Couch is forced to stand alone on the power of its material. The result deals in peaks and troughs, perhaps less noticeable to those who don’t have preconceived expectations that come from having seen Logie in his element. But with those expectations firmly intact, it can take a little longer to warm to what Couch has to offer.

When utilising a sense of melody or evoking the kinetic personality that drives his onstage performance, the result is exciting. But when the songs sound like they’ve been clinically constructed, the emotionless mechanics resonate about as much warmth as the frozen tundra. Second track ‘Elephant Heart’ does well to avoid the latter by employing a groove that the opening title track is sorely missing. Similarly ‘Fish of Pre-History’ has a bass driven spinal column which gives it a distinct Flaming Lips-circa-Yoshimi aftertaste, which Logie suits. When those two songs are followed by ‘Don’t Look Down’, the only track that even suggests this EP was made by a former member of The Mint Chicks, Couch has served up its best material.

‘Paint The TV’ removes the momentum created by ‘Don’t Look Down’, and its pseudo Postal Service ponderings doesn’t do the EP too many other favours either. However ‘Aether Teens 1’ is a strong closer, albeit one that cherry-picks from F In Math’s strengths and weaknesses. It does contain one of the best moments on the album though, when the song segues from pitch black pop to a slow distorted bass riff that makes you wish it carried on for much longer than it actually does.

Yes there are times when Couch is disappointing; times that it’s what you would expect; and times that it exceeds your expectations. You could argue that it’s only the first of those things if you thought you knew what you were going to get. As that is definitely not the case with an F In Math live show, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s not the case with an F In Math EP either.


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