Relations is how Tanlines would have turned out if they had been merged with. Cold Cave somehow, and I'm not just saying that because Relations is a duo. Relations follow the same mechanical backbone of Tanlines; guitars and drumbeats with the intent of how much they can draw from that combination. However, Relations bring no sense of Tropicana, good times-ness to their music. Their self-titled EP is saturated in the dark and doom of NYC, or at least what's left of it.
"Take No Sides" hits you like a punch from the opening, beginning with of screen door like squeak of noise before becoming a noise guitar duel of Daydream Nations vein. This the band at their most indie rock, with the guitars bouncing perfectly off one another, and the band bringing in real drums to help fill In the sound even more. In turn the band starts off with one of the best songs I've heard all year.
"A Savage Way to Live" and "Careless Days" represents the opposite of the band's spectrum; filled with space and even moments of silence, the band brings in heavy synth lines and even heavier bass beats to the songs, creating a mechanical and claustrophobic feel that lays in sharp contrast to the catharsis of "Take No Sides". That, at least until the guitar starts screeching later into the songs. Even then though, they are used as for simmering effect, a way to build up the song before bring in the tension again. "Songbirds" is the perfect nexus of the band's styles. The band's most night time song, it elegantly morphs from starry synth lines to guitar riffs without sounding forced. The guitars are (mildly) restrained on the track, so instead of overpowering, they just add to the sleekness of the track itself.
Relations' debut EP is an excellent work from such a young band. The meeting point of darkwave and post-punk, angular and sleek at the same time. Cold Cave's influence in the musical landscape is emerging, and producing great offspring.