|Soundtrack To A Wasted Day
When it comes to alternative music in China, Beijing is the most frequently mentioned area when speaking about interesting bands and "Even Less" is no exception to this rule. This project was clearly inspired by Porcupine Tree (the name being taken from a track off the "Stupid Dream" album) and it only takes a snippet of the visual, lyrical and musical aspects to acknowledge the all but hidden influence that Steven Wilson's brainchild has had on this band.
Even Less formed in 2009 and in about a couple of years got noticed by the most dedicated Chinese rock/metal label, Pest Productions, which is doing so much in order to promote some of the top acts of the Chinese scene (this is also one of the relatively few bands that opted for English lyrics, helping them to get some international attention). After taking part in a compilation in 2011 with the "Opeth-esque" track "In Another Life", Luo Keju and the others went on to record their first official EP, "Soundtrack To A Wasted Day".
I've had chance to see the Shanghai gig of their CD release promotional tour (it was available for download through Bandcamp). The four guys proved to have quite a vast repertoire (easily playing for over one hour) and delivered a clean performance, even on the vocals.
The dual lead vocalists combination is quite unusual for this kind of band, with guitarist Luo Keju and drummer Nong Andi alternating on vocals. The degree of similarity with the vocals and the interpretation of both Åkerfeldt and Renkse is nothing short of impressive. With eyes closed you could be forgiven for mistaking Even Less for Opeth or Katatonia.
Getting back to the EP, it contains four tracks, one of which is a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "The Day The World Went Away" (Luo Keju was wearing a NIN t-shirt during the performance). The musical background is extremely clear, perhaps even too much, and sometimes it seems that Even Less don't want to try and get out of it as they are so comfortable within their environment. However, the disc is not a tough listen by any means and flows with ease. It works well as a "manifesto" and is coherent in both visual and musical terms. After all, this is something quite unheard of in China, especially played with such proficiency, even though this style is something that has been played around Europe for quite some time now.
At this point we might expect "something more" when the band will be ready to record a full-length album, perhaps trying to write some Chinese lyrics.
In short: this band is extremely influenced by Opeth, Katatonia and Porcupine Tree, the disc contains a NIN cover and you can find this EP on their Bandcamp page.