On their debut EP, duo The Union Pool cite some disperate influences - Beach House, Jai Paul, Mount Kimbie, Bill Murray, Wes Anderson and skateboarding, amongst others. I'll parse those music ones first: The Number Four has some of dreamy wistfulness of Beach House and you can certainly detect a textural sophistication of the percussion that aligns with the sheer detail of Mount Kimbie. There is also a certain Eastern influence that fits with Mount Kimbie and Jai Paul. The result also sounds like Foals at their most aquatic, as on the still blue swimming pool and empty beaches of Total Life Forever.
Bill Murray, Wes Anderson and, erm, skateboarding? A little more difficult to pinpoint the influence of those here... Anderson is perhaps there, in that dreamy, global sound and the refined detail. Nothing about this release feels like skateboarding music in the traditional sense, but there is an undeniable sense of slow movement that feels like gracefully coasting down paved streets and pulling the odd effortless ollie to get to higher ground. So our last influence? Well, Bill Murray is good... And The Number Four is also good?
The Union Pool sound incredibly tight given this is their début EP. The title track sounds like a deep dive into sparkling water amongst stunning wildlife, bubbles perhaps floating rapidly past in the song's rapid rhythms, as the vocals encourage you to 'Take a deep breath...'. Second track S.A.D. is exactly as it says - turgidity and a morose sensibility prevail, capturing the seemingly pointless attempt to move on when you don't really want to.
Time And Space almost has a hint of Metronomy in the poppy interplay between the male and female vocals that cry out for an opportunity to get away from it all. It's a sweet and heartfelt plea, and it's hard not to feel like we've all been there too many times. Thick brassy synths and snappy drums give it a heartfelt break that provides a contrast to the fragility of the verse. Finally Magic Hour provides the EP's climax in a track that gradually builds to a crescendo and a subsequent break that feels like an epic conclusion.
This is an EP with lots of little detail but it also does a fantastic job of demonstrating The Union Pool's range and it is well worth seeking out.
The Number Four is out now on Tape Club Records, available from Amazon.co.uk on MP3 [affiliate link].