Album Review: Maths – The Fires Courting The Sea EP

With their first release since 2010 full-length ‘Descent’ (last year’s collection of demos and rarities ‘My Porthole Sees No Ocean’ nonwithstanding), much-missed screamo trio Maths return with ‘The Fires Courting The Sea’. A lot has changed in the world of UK hardcore since the release of ‘Ascent;’ Maths were never a core part of the #UKSWELL scene but an important peripheral element – their tyres weren’t as road-scorched as some contemporaries of that period, but their shows were always something special to behold, a simultaneous gut-punch and adrenaline rush of passion and fury. Now that the hubbub that scene created has mostly died down and a new breed of exciting, pulsating bands are on the rise, can Maths reclaim their place as the uncrowned kings of British cathartic post-hardcore? This release certainly suggests nothing should stop them.

As ever, Maths are worthy students of the screamo rulebook; the templates laid down by old masters such as Orchid, La Quiete and Circle Takes The Square run in this band’s DNA and reflect in the dischordant cacophony they create. This six track offering is short, but the tempered balance between chaos and solemnity, their inherent knowledge of when to attack and when to relent is still up there with the very best around. While both less than two minutes in length, the eponymous track and ‘Last Night Silhouette’ in quick succession produce more jaw-dropping moments than some other bands of the genre can in entire album. If this is the kind of material they produce on a stall-setting, “we’re still here” release, imagine what they can do across an entire album.

After the relentless discourse of the aforementioned early part of the EP, the latter part of the release sees Maths spreading their experimental wings a little. While it’s not quite the hybrid of post-rock and screamo seen elsewhere, this introspective side of the band is a welcome change of pace, allowing vocalist Zen’s pained howl to shine on songs like ‘The Water Is The Colour Of The Sky’ and making for powerful moments such as the bridge section and coda of ‘Laughter Stirs The Canyon’ (which also employs the best use of handclaps I’ve heard in some time). As a simple instrumental piece closes out the EP, this sub-ten minute blast proves Maths have been well worth the wait. Whilst they are still yet to release their magnum opus, this proves the Maths of 2015 have just as much to offer as they did in 2010, and with acts like Throats returning to the fore, this could be a very rosy year indeed for this subsect of hardcore punk. Most importantly of all, this more than whets the appetite for a rare live appearance – let’s hope their upcoming touring schedule is more rigourous than their release schedule.

4/5

‘The Fires Courting The Sea’ EP by Maths is released on 23rd March on Tangled Talk Records.

Maths links: Facebook|Bandcamp|Twitter

Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)

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