Subplots: A Silent Phase review – nicely channeling those Radiohead influences

Fri, Nov 9, 2018, 05:00


A Silent Phase




A decade ago, Dublin-based duo Subplots released their debut album Nightcycles. Their introduction presented an early indication of a trajectory drenched by the influence of Thom Yorke and Radiohead.

Three albums later, Subplots – now operating as a three-piece – continue to incorporate the dark, atmospheric timbre of both Amnesiac and The Eraser in their brooding compositions. On A Silent Phase, they’ve honed their sound, which predominantly thrives on sinister frequencies. These sombre tones are offset by the solitary, sweet melody of Constitution Hill.

By combining the organic sounds of gorgeous guitar-picking with the weighty, fuzzed hum of a Synton Syrinx synth – the latter dutifully performs as a key player, overall – the expansive arrangements provide an alluring dynamic throughout the nine tracks.

Elsewhere, To A Fault heralds an energetic buoyancy akin to art-rock favourites Foals’ distinct debut. Ultimately, it’s the hauntingly languid looped melody of Unspeak where Subplots are at their most captivating. At almost six minutes, it’s a rewarding moment on the record.

While Subplots openly wear their influences on their sleeve, woven from sedate electronic strands, A Silent Phase marks a crucial stage in their development.