Here we have the second EP from Hamilton-based quartet Landlords containing five songs at approximately 20 minutes in length. Interestingly the band are signed with a UK label, something I only realised when I checked out their Bandcamp page and could not work out why prices were in sterling instead of NZD. I must confess this led me to the label site and I can see I need to order a t-shirt they have for sale as it’s awesome! Anyway, back to the band, and as this is available digitally on Bandcamp I had a look at the tags. This can be an interesting exercise, as it allows a listener to see how a band view themselves, and they have a label I have not come across before, “doomgaze”, yet as soon as I saw it, I realised that certainly in the context of this EP it makes total sense as Landlords do indeed play that subgenre of music. They have taken elements of shoegaze, especially the dreamy nature with loads of reverb on the guitars and vocals which are placed within the arrangement as opposed to on top of it, and then mixed it with doom to create something which is lighter than one would expect from that genre while also being heavier than the normal shoegaze style.
Bringing together two styles which are often atmospheric in nature means, unsurprisingly, that we have a very atmospheric collection and consequently this is a set which needs to be played on headphones to get the most out of it. Somewhat surprisingly I managed to be reminded of both Radiohead and The Tornados (whose single Sputnik was the first band single to get to #1 in America) yet always with the threat of something heavier coming along at any moment, especially when the vocals are played towards the background and the focus is on the riffed guitars. There can be one guitar and bass linked together, then this highly echoey lighter guitar overlaid on top, which creates a very different style indeed. This combination works well, and it will be interesting to hear if they manage to maintain this mix when playing live or if the heaviness takes over. They are certainly worthy of further investigation.