Following a triumphant release show at Baby’s All Right on Wednesday, Brooklyn-based trio Language are now sharing their excellent new EP, Plymouth, in full today. Despite its short run time, the band comprised of Omar Afzaal, Charles Sloan and Wes Black manage to explore a number of exhilarating sonic path-lines, challenging themselves and listener’s preconceived notions with each turn.
To celebrate the release of Plymouth we had Language break it down for us track by track. Check it all out below, follow the band here and order your copy of the EP out now via Good Eye Records here.
This one came out of Wes and Charles working on a simple driving bass line paired with a drum groove that sounded like a salsa-esque beat on steroids. The guitar work on the song was inspired by Persian/Moorish scales, which add tension to the Can-inspired groove that Wes and Charles were diving deep into. We pack a lot of different sounds over these 5 tracks, but they all seem to exist in the aural world of “Where To?”
We haven’t changed a track as much as we have “Game Piece” prior to recording it. We had been playing this song for close to a year and half before piecing it all together into the version you hear on Plymouth. Many of the early changes were heartbreaking for us. At various times in the writing process, each one of us had to convince another to change or scrap a part to improve the song’s overall effect. You’ve got to let the song be the song even if it means letting go of some parts you really love to play.
In hindsight, it’s obvious that the previous versions were, indeed, inferior. Honestly, it was rather nightmarish getting all of the arrangements just right, but we’re glad we didn’t quit on it. The whole thing pummels forward until just before reaching its peak, when the rug gets pulled out and the song starts a musical climb of a completely different nature.
We wanted to write something dizzying by flipping between 7/4 and 4/4 time signatures, but didn’t want that to get in the way of some of the catchier elements. This patchwork style of arrangement keeps us on our toes while making sure the piece not only makes sense but also is purposeful.
“Plymouth” started with a bass part that eventually became a guitar part of which the bass played a variation. That riff immediately felt like the centerpiece of a track. But we thought it would lose its effectiveness if we kept repeating it ad nauseam (which we’re not necessarily opposed to in other situations). This particular part was too fragile and would have toppled had it been constantly restated. To counter this, we built these psych soundscapes that buttress an unusually delicate (for us) verse section where Charles actually “sings.” This may be our most emotionally complex of the bunch. We’ll probably explore this sort of mood further down the road.
“Into and out Of”
The rhythmic skeleton of this song was first laid down by Wes, with bass and guitar adding the nuance, flourishes, and textures. It’s sort of like a prog rhythm exercise played through a DIY basement show filter. The track might even come close to being a touch self-indulgent. It’s one of our favorite songs to play live, partly because it’s tricky to keep the whole thing on the rails.
To us, “Square Winds” sounds like a distant, more angry and troubled cousin of “Game Piece.” This one is a bit trickier with a few left turns that continuously reset the mood until Charles begins the huge chant at the end. We decided to track the vocals on this one in a basement/laundry room instead of the practice space in order to capture this scary tile reverb sound. The repeated chant at the end of the track, “Gathering our things from the wreck,” came from a very real and life-threatening experience we went through together. It struck us as the perfect way not only to close out the song, but the EP as a whole.