EP REVIEW: Former Wrestlers – Champion of the World

Creating music alone is a challenging path to take. Former Wrestlers is made up of Derya ‘Dez’ Nagle who provides vocals, instrumentation and production for this adventurous 5 track EP.

From the calming Canim Benim which opens the record with a familiar singer-songwriter vibe, and an expectation of this EP is created. The quietest moments of Tangled Hair or Delta Sleep are taken to soothing new levels. There is an electronic hum hiding behind the simple guitar line and delicate vocals, this creates a sense of instant warmth amongst the infectious emotion. This simplicity perfectly fits the honest, apologetic lyrics, the Bacharach-esque chord progression is particularly comforting.

This comfort is ripped away like an expertly executed drop kick with the theatrical vocals of Weekend Hobbies, transporting this release back a few decades. The musicianship and vocals lie equally between soft rock and popular emo, there is something almost mesmerising as the vocal shares the focus one crescendo at a time. Musically the angular guitars lead in and out of the chorus, constantly driven by crashing drums which take occasional breaks to cement the pre-chorus.

With the tone of this release set and the beauty of the opener a distant memory, Mother & Father Dearest drives the release from theatrical emo to post-rock with a playful guitar and bass line. Once more the musicianship serves as a starter for the main course of an infectious chorus. It’s clear that this is an EP that possibly, accidentally, takes influence from the British rock of the noughties. This is most evident within Purple Mourning, which has a Funeral For A Friend styled combination of complex guitars and cymbal heavy drumming behind yet another infectious chorus.

Much as it started this EP ends with a curve ball; the wonky production and auto tune of Everyone Knows creates something truly haunting. With obvious sound references to the most experimental Bon Iver and modern hip-hop style production of recent Flaming Lips, this is an uncomfortable ending with vocals fading into electronics.

As an entire EP this is a confused effort. There are elements that just don’t seem to work together, the main issue being the strange flow between tracks. There are seamless transitions between the dated indie rock middle section which create a sense of purpose, but this is taken away by the almost polar opposite sounds that start and end the release. Ironically the cause of this strange flow is also the highlight of the release, in these two tracks there is a creativity that is not present within the main body of the EP. The Bibio-esque electronics and warm fuzz really spark interest, but sadly the Hundred Reasons meets 30 Seconds to Mars sounds dated and stale.

Champion of the World is a release which is packed full of creative ideas, but sadly the execution is not quite right.


Standout Tracks: Canim Benim, Everyone Knows

For Fans Of: Bibio, Funeral for a Friend, 2004

Written by: Ben Adsett