Ones To Watch: ESP

ESP artwork

Finally, a parapsychology reference I can get on board with. Despite their name, you don’t need to appeal to pseudoscience to explain why ESP are making headway: the Los Angeles-based three-piece make infectiously good songs that have an uncanny ability to worm their way into the dark recesses of your mind. That’s quite an impressive feat, given that their aesthetic might tactfully be described as fairly psychedelic.

They’re made up of brother and sister Aska and Seiya Matsumiya, who between them handle vocals and keyboards, and Bobby Evans, who bangs the drums; all three tinker with electronics on the side. The net result is a little hard to pin down. It’s highly percussive, and the overdriven drums and general synthetic texture puts me in mind of fellow Los Angeles boy Big Black Delta. They describe themselves as drawing on Asian melodies, and there is a definite touch of Eastern tonality that separates them from the rest of the synthpop crowd.

Their debut EP, adventurously titled ESP EP, is an impressively rounded piece of work for a band who’ve only been playing together for a year – it shows that they all individually have a background in the wider music scene. The highlight for me was “627″, which sounds something like The xx might if they got dosed up on magic mushrooms and tripled, or maybe quadrupled, the bass. There are spaces in all the right places, and Aska has the impressive talent of sounding simultaneously fragile and strident with her singing.

By all reports, ESP‘s live shows are a sight to behold, so if you get a chance to catch them then jump at it. For those who, like myself, have a couple of time-zones in the way, you can always check out the nuts video for “Serenade” below courtesy of Noisey. Something tells me it probably does a pretty good job of catching the atmosphere. I can’t honestly recommend relying on your inner eye, but however you go about it ESP are definitely ones to watch.

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