It’s an all too familiar story. You and a couple of mates congregate in a chosen bedroom or garage with assorted instruments, intent on musical stardom. A few haphazard practices ensue, before deciding the guitarist’s ego is ruining your creative endeavours, you’ll never gather the pennies to record anything, and you’d probably be better off focusing on that IT course, much to your parents’ relief.
off focusing on that IT course, much to your parents’ relief.
Fortunately, not all garage band ventures end this way. From the unassuming borough of Maghull, Winter Here is a low-fi wonder, an album born of a cold and snowy stint in a garage by newcomers ENDECI. Dan Schulze (Guitar, Vocals) and Josh Mansell (Drums) formed the band through mutual friend James Rice (Bass, Vocals), and recorded the album as a project stemming from previous bouts of writing and recording.
After rejecting the term ‘modest garage rock’ from their Soundcloud profile on the grounds that “You can’t be modest and say you’re modest,” they settled for ‘low-fi winter rock’. Low-fi seems to describe the album perfectly, epitomised by its simplistic nature, prompted by a lack of professional recording equipment. “It was lower than low-fi, we had no-fi,” says Dan.
When the snow thawed and the album was complete, Endeci distributed CDs, before embarking on a daunting wait for potential curiosity. Interest came in the form of a gig supporting She Keeps Bees for a Harvest Sun show, and attention has spiralled from there. Endeci’s members seem pleasantly surprised by the reaction, as Josh humbly claims: “It’s not the most accessible music in the world.”
Throughout the album, uplifting riff-based hooks act as a guide, whilst prominent basslines and forceful drumming contrast with James’ high pitched vocals. Some songs feel introverted and personal, whereas This Is High Art and The Burning Cradle see Dan singing with a Guided by Voices or The Fall style of rock laziness. The epic wailing chorus of ‘ohs’ in Home urges an anthemic singalong that Coldplay would envy.
The opening track on Endeci’s album, Angela’s Ghost poses an intriguing juxtaposition. Just guitar and vocals, sinister, frail and somewhat unsettling, this sound is energetically blown away as it flows directly into Valley of the Dolls. When played in isolation, Angela’s Ghost is a curious oddball of a song, but when adjoined to the rest of the album it falls into place and acts as a breaker of expectations. Endeci admit that, “It’s kind of grown into one song over time.” However unintentional, it serves as a captivating and compelling unconventionality.
There is more than a hint of alternative 90s rock, embraced by the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Sparklehorse, to Endeci’s music. Dan reflects that, “In those days, bands just didn’t have the means,” which aligns with Endeci’s DIY nature. Josh explains, “We recorded it in a garage and it was a bit trashy and we didn’t have any violins or cellos.” Perhaps this recent tendency in bands like Yuck and The Vaccines to adopt a more DIY sound is the result of the increasingly under-equipped, never-been-to-Brit-School generation, and the beginnings of a more basic, less produced sound. Dan concurs: “I thought it was going to happen a few years ago; we thought there was going to be some kind of low-fi renaissance, with the recession.” Perhaps Josh is right in saying, “Some people try too hard.” The key to Endeci appears to be that “We just don’t punch above our weight,” creating a refreshing, more natural sound. Less is more seems to be a Endeci’s mantra.
A further refreshing element of Endeci is their non-militant, more relaxed promotion strategies: “We hate the whole thing of bands pestering people”. A free download of their album on their website bodes better than tedious Facebook reminders, which often become tiresome to the point where hearing of a band through any other means seems increasingly appealing.
Whereas the birth of 60s garage rock and its various revivals encapsulates the amateur-like, raw nature of music rehearsed in garages; GarageBand now more likely conjures up the AppleMac application allowing users to create music on their laptop. This seems to sum up today’s bedroom producer culture, and often over-computerised nature of music. Endeci, who boldly encompass the original sense of the term ‘garage band’, counter this with their back to basics production, a little modesty, authenticity, and not trying to be anything more than they are.