SQÜRL EP #260

SQÜRL EP #260
5
SQÜRL is the psych-noise-drone rock band of film director Jim Jarmusch and regular collaborators Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback. They started in 2009 and reached their highest peak to date with the award-winning soundtrack to Jarmusch's 2013 vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. Their latest EP, simply titled EP #260, continues their gloomy style but in a less grand way.
 
Opener "Solstice" drones on gradually shifting cluster chords, imbuing it with a more horror-film-score feeling. Heavy bass drum downbeats tie the ending into the next track, "The Dark Rift," which offers sludgy, doomy rock with muddy guitar tone and pretty dry drums. The production isn't great, but that might enhance the dark mood for some listeners.
 
"Equinox" opens with more distorted guitar feedback noises for its first half, before another dry, heavy, simple beat kicks in around three minutes in with almost the exact same beat from the previous song. Finally, a cool melodic riff starts around 3:45, but it only lasts about 30 seconds before getting cut off for more of what came before it.
 
Anton Newcombe of psychedelic band the Brian Jonestown Massacre then shows up for a remix of "Equinox," retitled "Gates of Ishtar," in which he gives the song a slinky bass line and some creepy feminine vocals about midway through. The Föllakzoid remix of "The Dark Rift" stretches the sludgy riff into drone-like material, and adds a muffled, ambient techno beat in its back half.
 
Overall there's probably only about a single's worth of interesting, enjoyable material here. The noir atmospherics are cool, but if it weren't for Jarmusch's involvement this release wouldn't be that notable. (Sacred Bones)