British indie electronic band Vessels formed in 2005 after they reshuffled the lineup of their previous outfit, with Lee J. Malcolm (guitars, laptop, and vocals), Tom Evans (guitar, vocals), Martin Teff (bass, synth), and drummer Tim Mitchell completing the group. While a part of the Leeds-based band's sound occupies similar post-rock territory to Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, they take influence from electronica elements in much the same way as contemporaries 65daysofstatic, and draw on the likes of Battles, Four Tet, and electronic instruments within their complex sound. In 2006 they self-released an EP before signing with indie label Cuckundoo Records and put out a limited 7" single, "Yuki," the following year. Multi-instrumentalist Peter Wright was soon added to the fold and they then set out to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they recorded their debut album, White Fields and Open Devices, with producer John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, Xiu Xiu). They returned and embarked on a nationwide tour in 2008 before the album was released that summer. Their second album took shape in 2010 when they again traveled across the Atlantic -- this time to Dallas, Texas -- and again worked with John Congleton. The result was 2011's Helioscope, which was well received by fans and critics alike, and secured them a headlining spot on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. The band set off on tour again with dates across the U.K., Europe, and North America in 2012, and released a cover of electronic artist Nathan Fake's "The Sky Was Pink." The following year, the group released an EP titled Elliptic, which furthered their exploration of electronic dance music. Vessels moved to Leaf sub-label Bias in 2014, and full-length Dilate appeared in 2015, emphasizing dance beats more than any of their previous works. Several singles and remixes were released, and Vessels changed labels again in 2016, this time working with PIAS imprint Different. Singles "Had a Love," "Are You Trending?," and "4AM" all appeared that year. Vessels' fourth album, The Great Distraction, was released in 2017, including the Flaming Lips-featuring single "Deflect the Light."
© Scott Kerr /TiVo
© Scott Kerr /TiVo
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Electronic - Released April 1, 2016 | Different Recordings
On Dilate, Vessels show off their flair for different kinds of musical peaks, whether they're dance music's ecstatic highs or post-rock's majestic climaxes. Bridging the gap between these styles is nothing new for the band, but they do it more seamlessly than ever before. On songs such as the nearly nine-minute-long "Elliptic," an aptly named journey through a gently orbiting melody and percussion that morphs from electronic to live drums, Dilate traces wide-ranging arcs that are subtly propulsive, suggesting a less showy Fuck Buttons. Elsewhere, "Attica" moves from a heavy, four-on-the-floor beat to towering arpeggios that recall Mogwai's synth-driven side. Vessels get even more creative with "On Monos," where disco-house and dream pop combine into alien dance music, and "As You Are," a trip-hop-influenced outlier that's a little less intricate and more intimate than the rest of Dilate. Throughout the album, Vessels' different approaches flow so naturally that they feel effortless, arriving at an impressive blend of passion and precision. © Heather Phares /TiVo