Easily Embarrassed

There's a narrative quality that elevates much Easily Embarrassed material well above psychedelic slowbeats by-the-numbers. More so than many of their contemporaries, the trio have also mastered the art of the album, as opposed to just collections of single tracks.

artist:
Easily Embarrassed

country of origin:
Netherlands

style(s):
Psy chill, psy ambient, progressive rock, dub, trance, ambient pop

decades active:
00's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Idyllic Life (2008, Cardamar Music)
  • Tales Of The Coin Spinner (2011, EE Music)

Reviewed by Mike G

The music of Dutch trio Easily Embarrassed will superficially sound familiar to fans of new-school ambient and downtempo beats: warm chillout grooves built on modern dance music's musical and technological DNA. But a deeper investigation reveals something much more distinctive.

There's a progressive flavour and narrative structure to their albums that owes as much to late 60's and 70's progressive rock as it does the electronic beat music of trance, techno, dub and electropop. Think Pink Floyd, Rick Wakemen, Klaus Schulze, even early Supertramp - a narrative quality that elevates much Easily Embarrassed material well above psychedelic slowbeats by the numbers. More so than many of their contemporaries, the trio have also mastered the art of the album as opposed to just collections of single tracks - another proud prog rock tradition.

Two albums stand out. The debut Idyllic Life (2008) lays out their philosophy beautifully. "Blood" is a fine example of the way they mesh new and old: the gently buzzing acid groove of a Roland 303 meshed with the whistling, retro sci-fi phrasings of a vintage Minimoog. The tracks are bridged by location recordings and atmospheric transitions, slowly drawing you in deeper without any overly pretentious calls to lose yourself and "take a journey" - the Achilles heel of ye olde progressive rock.

The brilliant dark-edged third album Tails Of The Coin Spinner (2011) - complete with Jethro Tull-flavoured cover art - is texturally seductive, harmonically rich, rhythmically intriguing and not afraid of the occasional grungy riff or dirty bassline. Epic retro synth and string sounds as well as drums and guitar are woven throughout the ten tracks, played off against current dub and dance music elements to great effect. The album is also a fine study in melody - that musical element so easy to learn yet the hardest to master. With great love of melody, it can be argued, also comes great responsibility. Tales Of The Coin Spinner shows a band of composers who know how to direct their melodic gifts without giving in to either bombast or saccharine prettiness. Not an easy task, and pulled off here with impressive skill.

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