One of West Yorkshire/Lancashire’s most exploratory young bands, Termite’s 3rd EP (and 1st as a 4-piece) Growth, is an all too brief voyage into a melting pot of blues, garage rock and early psychedelia. The band have literally grown in size on each release, having originated as a White Stripes-style 100% bass-free duo on 2011’s Garbo Talks! before adding said low end on last year’s Steamtown Treetime and finally completing the jigsaw with the addition of Sam Rodwell – an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right – on guitars for this new effort.
Their sound has expanded as a result, meaning Growth is by far their most nuanced and accomplished record to date. The rough & ready blues rock is still gratefully present; but accompanied by a new found penchant for structure and melody. Not quite moving from the White Stripes to the Raconteurs, but you get the picture. The opening track on Growth, ‘These Clowns,’ is both a dreamy ode to heartbreak and a guttural 5/4 stomp, (with added amplifier noise for good measure) whilst ‘Memory Loss’ takes you back, ironically, to the mid 60s haze of Donovan or the Byrds; filtered through a 21st century postmodern indifference the Manchester rain can’t help but give you.
The last track on the EP, ‘Kettle of Fish’ is again broadly in two musical camps at once. The first half is Termite at their jazziest, with basses walking and cymbals splashing, only for the music to progress through to a 7/8 freak out about half way through, moving through the gears until they reach full on prog mode before the track even hits four minutes. So many ideas are explored on that track, as on the other two, that it’s a crying shame the band haven’t put out a long player as yet. Given a good 40 minutes to really explore their potential there’s little doubt Termite would put out an album still brimming with musicality and focus without once resorting to a comfort zone or cliche. Having four heads to bang together suits them as well, it seems, as their is a focus to their playing here that perhaps wasn’t as present as on previous releases. Maybe they’re just going about their recorded careers the old way, quietly making and recording music whilst still finding their sound, before really making it big around their 8th album; instead of today’s vogue of industry and media pushed hot new acts that implode after their first, multi-platinum selling record (I’m looking at you, Vaccines). Here’s hoping anyway.