In 1954, Jacobo Arbenz, the President of Guatemala was overthrown in a coup aided by the CIA. Arbenz, like President Bermejo before him, was criticised for his Socialist policies that bared too much resemblance to “Communism” for many landowners and members of the upper class. At the time, the USA directly supported the Guatemalan army as the country was considered to be of strategic importance during the Cold War against Russia. Being deeply suspicious of anything or anyone Communist, the USA acted swiftly to remove Arbenz from presidency and replace him with someone more “suitable”. Part of their plan was to disable the whole country’s communication systems while spreading anti-Communist propaganda widely throughout the nation. The CIA believed that if they kept this “static” up for 65 days, then they would be successful.
And that, boys and girls, is where Sheffield based post-rock band 65daysofstatic got their name from.
In their nearly eight-year-long career the band have released three albums, all of which were critically acclaimed but perhaps haven’t earned them the widespread acknowledgement that they deserve. They incorporate electronics into their post-rock sound that gives them an almost industrial kind of sound. The title of the EP, and indeed the first two tracks off of it, come from a track on their last album ‘The Destruction of Small Ideas’. The original track in question is still at heart a traditionally post-rock 65dos track, but the electronic element is pushed so far that it takes on a euphoric trance like state that is unique for the band. As the first two tracks here are remixes of “…Dance Parties” they are even more danceable. ‘Dance Parties [Distant]’
is the better of the two with a stronger beat and interesting ethereal chanted vocals making several appearances throughout the song to great effect. However, ‘…[Mechanised]’
is the more interesting of the two. With a less prominent beat, it instead relies on keyboard motifs to push the track forward. Unfortunately, it is too short and doesn’t really progress adequately – nevertheless it is at least a half decent track.
is the intro used before performing the title track live so when it is detached from the track that it precedes it’s impact is lessened noticeably. Nevertheless, it is still a reasonably strong track in its own right. At times its ‘glitchy’, xylophone driven melodies are utterly mesmerising, but ultimately its short length means that it simply does not have time to progress adequately. The same, however, can not be said for the final track on the EP, ‘Antique Hyper Mall’
– however, even though it is the longest track here, it still does not reach its full potential. Starting with just ambient background noise, more and more layers seep in to form what could have been a very strong track. However, it meanders along rather than progresses, its frequent textural changes are minimal and largely ineffective. While the track could have better, it is relaxing enough to be enjoyable, although it is a little one-dimensional.
The main weakness of this EP is that it is lacks variation – which is a shame because this was actually quite a significant progression for the band. The electronica element of the band has more emphasis on it that before, and on the first two tracks, the remixes, it works pretty well. Unfortunately, the other two tracks are not as strong, and therefore the EP suffers. Nevertheless, on ‘The Distant and Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties’ 65daysofstatic should be commended for straying away from their earlier work, unfortunately, as it turns out, their earlier work was better.