I’lls is the musical embodiment of quality over quantity. Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country is only the fourth EP by the band since their Thread EP in 2011. Like their previous releases, after listening to this EP it’s no wonder that I’lls are able to keep such a loyal fan base over the years.
This release shows that the art of writing and recording a good EP is certainly not dead in the independent/small label music scene. Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country tells a story and carries musical motifs through in such a way that it would be a shame to listen to each track individually.
This EP starts slow, with the opening tracks “Aves” and “A/B/A” indicative of a shift towards a more stripped back and nuanced sound. There is a cinematic ambience to a lot of I’lls tracks and “Aves” particularly would not be out of place on the Lost in Translation soundtrack. The vocals of Simon Lam play a more pivotal role, giving the overall release a Thom Yorke vibe. “A/B/A” as with much of the EP has intricate vocal layering with prominent echo effects.
Despite the move to a more ambient feel, tracks like “Keep” and “Let Me Have Just One” provide a more upbeat heart to the EP, giving the same intensity that “15 Step” gave to In Rainbows (Radiohead). The interplay between fast beats, bright synth sounds and sad lyrics in “Let Me Have Just One” certainly doesn’t discourage any Thom Yorke comparisons. Due to this, as well as a more standard pop lyrical structure, this track is the obvious single and is quite radio friendly.
For me however, the standout of this EP is “Substitutions”. This is an interesting track with quirky samples and bright almost-cartoonish melodic synth lines. Despite being wildly different genres, these bright sounds remind me of the samples used by MF Doom… but maybe that is just a projection (I fucking love hip hop). I also find this track is more dramatic with more progressive intensity which really gets me going. In standard Rosa style, my favourite track is unlikely to be a big hit but I believe that due to the lack of Lam’s vocals, this track demonstrates the musical depth and stylistic features that I’lls is trying to explore in this album.
The final track, “Agwa” (an ode to the Bolivian liquor?), is a return to the Yorke sound of the middle tracks, with similar melodic structures. However, the vocals on “Agwa” have a high emotional intensity more similar to the downtempo tracks of Sigur Rós.
Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country, besides having a annoying name, is a fantastic EP which is just the latest example of the musical intelligence of these Melbourne boys. The more prominent use of vocals should gain them more widespread appeal which I believe is much deserved and definitely not a bad thing. Gaining a spot on the Splendour In The Grass lineup shows that people are aware that I’lls are certainly one to watch. I eagerly await the album but here’s hoping that they don’t lose the more interesting tracks like “Substitutions” in their success.
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia.
Latest Release: Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country, released 27 July 2015.
Sounds like: Burial, Radiohead, Squarepusher.
Say what? As told to Acclaim, the boys met at university and originally used to play jazz together. Hamish described themselves as “outcasts of jazz”.
Stay classy, Rosa.