An Epic Triumph, the latest EP by Israeli trio Memory In Plant, is difficult to digest. Its abundance of layers creates a chaotic atmosphere that requires many listens to even begin deciphering them. The one thing that’s clear from the get go is the band’s technical prowess; there’s a strong mix of electronic and progressive rock influences that play a huge role in the clarity and precision of the album’s production, which acts as a confusing counterpoint to the experimental nature of the songs as a whole. I’d even hesitate to refer to the tracks on An Epic Triumph as songs, they’re more like elaborate soundscapes with occasional traditional song-like moments.
The opening track, “Memory Implant”, a witty play on the band’s name, has a dark and menacing vibe that reminds me of early Black Sabbath if the length of their songs were inverse. The following track, “This Love”, makes several drastic stylistic shifts during its short running time. It begins like a dreamy psychedelic folk tune, briefly shifts into an upbeat groove before jarringly breaking down into a dubstep drop that ends as quickly and inexplicably as it began, and then concludes with the previous upbeat rock groove. “Shame On Me” embraces electronic influences that had so far only been hinted at. Instead of sticking to what I consider the strongest aspect of their sound, it quickly devolves into weirdness yet again, this time with an abundance of vocal effects and Frank Zappa-ish abandon. “Eyes Up” delivers more of the same with a distinct Middle Eastern flavour that, given the band’s hometown, I’m surprised took this long to play a role in their eclectic sound.
An Epic Triumph‘s biggest problem is a gross lack of cohesion, and there is no greater example of that than the second to last track, “Rainy Dancing”. For the most part it’s my favourite song on the EP. Its beautiful, psychedelic intro transitions well into a bizarre mixture of beeps, sirens and dog barks before mixing angelic choir-like voices with a chugging heavy metal guitar riff. These stop abruptly and turn into what should have been the EPs final moments. What sounds like an old sample of a few voices singing “Thank you and goodnight” repeatedly would’ve been an excellent and fittingly bizarre end to the sonic adventure through which the listener was just dragged. Instead, the final track is the longest one on An Epic Triumph and, while giving off a wild free-jazz vibe, it becomes incredibly repetitive and dull despite the wild and fast-paced crescendo to which it eventually leads. Things eventually wind down into a jazzy guitar riff that stops abruptly, unceremoniously bringing everything to a close.
While An Epic Triumph definitely matches its name in technical prowess, sound design and production, I would describe its songwriting as an epic failure. Only iron-willed music nerds who enjoy dissecting each small part of the music they listen to should bother with multiple listens of this album. Everyone else, listen once, marvel at the existence of such deeply layered weirdness, then walk away forever.
Written by Brian Clarke