Is it possible to call Like the Sun suffocating in a good way? Programm’s specialty seems to be creating pressurized musical atmospheres that never feel oppressive. It’s emphasized by the huge production and layers of sound that make each of the EP’s four songs feel like albums of their own.
Ever since their Volcano Playground days, Programm have impressed with their intense performance, and it’s so enjoyable to enter into this EP with no interludes or buildups. It’s just a straight blast of guitars, drums and waves of synth.
How like the sun the title track is can be debated, but there’s no doubt the song rises as strongly as the centre of our galaxy does. Jackie Game’s vocals carry the song amid the crashing guitars and powerful percussion. As the song continues its rampage, the instrumentation gets even more frantic.
“We Barely Escaped” is an odyssey unto itself, feeling like a story with a beginning, middle and end. This time it’s Jacob Soma providing the vocals as blazing guitars mingle with ominous bass to start the song off. As the song reaches the halfway point, vocals switch over to Game again, and there’s finally the slightest hint of a release of pressure…
Until “Soft Shadows,” that is. Though roughly half the length of the other songs here, it packs no less of a punch. The programming and percussion make this song feel at its densest, and Game’s vocals flit in and out, guiding listeners along for only brief seconds before abandoning them to the darkness.
And finally, there’s “ZeroZeroZero,” a song full of gloom but also a lot more spare. Bringing to mind a computer error, the wail of programming is eerie, but also finally gives a sense of release after a very tense 15 minutes of a wall of shoegaze.
Programm’s debut EP never lets go, but then again, you won’t want to escape.
Top Track: “We Barely Escaped”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)