Whatever perceptions of banjo-related music you have are swiftly about to change. Long associated with that “duelling” scene in Deliverance and perhaps every stereotype of country music imaginable, Belfast outfit RMCK’s self-titled E.P. beats those caricatures into a musical pulp with this delightful instrumental record. Released through Solid Choice, the as-of-yet nameless and faceless RMCK incorporates an array of loops and distorted effects to create luscious black metal and psychedelic rock elements throughout.
‘Mercer’, the premier track and first to be released from this EP, is testament to this with a darkly atmospheric and lingering sound that is perfectly summated by the competing banjo melodies during the middle portion of the track. ‘Altered 4’, by comparison, bears a bluesier hallmark. Although it is the shortest track on the E.P. at 1 minute 28 seconds, it is foot-tappingly good with the use of loops equating to a wonderfully layered offering.
The third-of-five, ‘Sickness From Cure’ revisits the wonderful atmospheric properties of ‘Mercer’ with an eerie instrumental that wouldn’t be at all out of place in a chilling horror flick. Alongside the use of loop effects, the simple solo banjo line creates a tense yet impactful composition. The E.P.’s penultimate track, ‘Dem Devi’, also has the distinction of being perhaps the heaviest, with the drumming acumens of Ben McAuley at its strongest with a number of blistering combinations towards the track’s closure. It’s definitely one to pump you up!
‘7 And In Between’ rounds off this E.P. with a notably more positive tonality with its glistening arpeggios and calming aura. In essence, it is the perfect counter to the darker, more sinister edge harboured in ‘Mercer’. It has a refreshing and uplifting feel to it; like a gull powering through a vicious sea storm, before making its way to the other side and floating off into the serene and peaceful distance.
It is as of yet unknown whether RMCK will perform live. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking out this record. With a completely different twist on the often unfancied banjo and a secret identity (because everyone loves a little bit of mystery, right?), RMCK’s eponymous piece is highly recommended.