22 – You Are Creating
Alternative Rock | Progressive Rock
The new release from Norwegian band 22 is a delightful, if somewhat frustrating, discovery to end 2018 with. Released as a double album in two parts, Limb1 & Limb2, You Are Creating plays like the lovechild of Muse and Diablo Swing Orchestra. The album has all the soaring falsettos and infectious melodies of the former, as well as a dash of bewildering absurdity from the latter. Tracks like ‘Chroma Key’ and ‘Sylphs’ in particular from the latter half of Limb2 get the balance between the two just right. They pack in so many ideas they feel almost fit to burst, but just manage to keep everything together. It’s like watching an explosive reaction take place from behind safety glass. The bass throughout the record is exceptional, but even that isn’t enough to distract from the incredibly versatile and engaging vocals, which shine best in the airy ‘Ectypes’.
While I have no major qualms about You Are Creating, unfortunately there are still lots of little niggling annoyances that all add up to be just as much of an issue. Despite being short by double album standards, it still feels much too long, there is too much filler here to warrant a two-part release. The two ‘Node’ interludes feel unnecessary, and only serve to split the two halves of the record (with Limb2 being the strongest overall). The chorus of ‘Sum of Parts’ is a bit grating, and ‘Adam Kadmon Body Mass Index’ goes too far down the bonkers avant-garde route and loses a lot of musicality in the process. While I want to love the Radiohead-esque ‘A Mutation of Thrushes’, the heavy breakdown in the middle feels a bit too out of place. The band have certainly impressed me enough to recommend you give this record a go, but its inconsistent nature holds it back from being an essential listen.