Review: Egyptian Blue – Collateral Damage (EP)

On Collateral Damage, Egyptian Blue present themselves as a powerful, competent force. The four songs explored here neatly choreograph their intentions; opener Collateral sets a frantic pace that the band maintains throughout the EP’s fifteen-minute run with barely so much as a pause for breath. Each track is held together by tight, driving grooves and spastic guitars seemingly on loan from the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, and each track delivers on the thrill.

To Be Felt, probably the most readily accessible song here, comes running off the bat supported by a frenzied guitar line which never stays still and a persistent groove which brings things full circle after a loping detour. Contain It starts out in ⅞, with a strutting bravado that brings to mind The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ if it were chopped up on ecstasy. The constant switching between time signatures has a pleasantly disorientating effect, lurching along to syncopated rhythms that push at the confines of the walls around them. The way the post-chorus break builds relentlessly before disintegrating is playful, almost ludicrous, and likely makes for a great outro to watch live.

The interplay between guitarists Leith Ambrose and Andy Buss keeps things fresh on extended vocal breaks, particularly on the closing track Adderall, which moves into a spacy stop/start passage euphemistically referential to the study drug. The constant transitions and sudden switch-ups throughout the album keep the listener engaged, each song moving seamlessly into the next. Both the song titles and the music suggest a manic, pent-up energy, channelled by the band with destructive precision.

Ambrose, who also covers lead vocal duties on the EP, couples a Kasabian-equse growl with a blunt, punky delivery that suits the urgent rush of guitars on each track. Most of the time the lyrics are secondary to the instrumentation, serving as a reference point in the organised chaos for the listener to coherently grab onto. That said, you can do a lot worse than lines like “Death and ambition go hand-in-hand; love is just a castle in the sand” from To Be Felt, which acts to further the band’s cavalier, devil-may-care attitude.

This is the kind of music you want to drive to. It’s the kind of music you put on when you’re running late or stuck in traffic, when you need high octane stimulation to obliterate life’s temporary woes and frustrations. As the last strains of Adderall fade into nothingness, far too soon, your first instinct as a listener should be to hit play and start the ride again.

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