Bring Me The Horizon – ‘~GO TO~’

By Fiachra Johnston

The release of ‘Ludens’, regardless of the song being a promotional track from the game Death Stranding, was a neat celebration by Bring Me The Horizon of their various styles from the last ten years. Incorporating the wall-of-sound heaviness of ‘Sempiternal’ and the sharpness of ‘That’s The Spirit’ with the more experimental electronic-infused sounds of their recent work ‘amo’, it seemed like a nice full stop at the end of the decade, and we all figured, “right, top work fellows, we’ll see what you get up to in the 20’s”.

Then this EP was dropped as a post Christmas surprise. Less of a “Run The Jewels 3 is getting an early release” kind of surprise, and more of a “Somebody spiked the eggnog with LSD and Gran is about ready to fight the Christmas tree as a result” kind of surprise.

Bring Me The Horizon’s newest release aptly(?) titled ‘Music to listen to~dance to~blaze to~pray to~feed to~sleep to~talk to~grind to~trip to~breathe to~help to~hurt to~scroll to~roll to~love to~hate to~learn Too~plot to~play to~be to~feel to~breed to~sweat to~dream to~hide to~live to~die to~GO TO’, or ‘MTLTDTBTPTFTSTTTGTTTBTHTHTSTRTLTHTLTPTPTBTFTBTSTDTHTLTDTGT’ for short (or ‘~GO TO~’  if you’re a realist trying to avoid hitting the word count too early), is a pseudo b-side collection, described by the band as a “braindump” of ideas and samples based on their work from ‘amo’, featuring guest artists and producers. Beyond that, it’s incredibly difficult to describe this EP. To even call it a BMTH release seems like a disservice not just to previous works by the Sheffield rock group, but also to the sheer oddness of this release.

Truth be told, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Bring Me The Horizon want this EP to be, if anything at all. At times, it feels like an ambient electronic experiment, chasing shades of artists like Amon Tobin or Aphex Twin with ‘Dead Dolphin Sounds’. Other times, it tries to take a more modern leap into trap and hip-hop through the production of tracks like the EP’s openers ‘Steal Something’ and ‘Candy Truck/You Expected: LAB Your Result: Green’. There’s even a booming orchestral break a la the work of Woodkid in ‘A Devastating Liberation’ It’s certainly not an album that chains itself to one idea or influence, nor should it. If nothing else, it’s a wonderful sandbox that the band seemed to take genuine pleasure getting weird in, using what they’ve tried on ‘amo’ and turning it up to eleven. If an old, worn notebook of brainstormed thoughts made a noise, this EP would most likely the result. 

The downside to this is that despite being a collection of unique sounds that roll into one another, there is very little substance to any of it. Rather than being a well-crafted, fine-tuned painting, this is a Jackson Pollock mess, with ideas flung towards the canvas at random with no real cohesion or meaning. Paramount to this is ‘Underground Big’, a twenty four-minute long slog of a song, though it’s hard to call a loose collection of hip-hop, metal riffs, electronic backings, and then twenty minutes of what can only be described as Oliver Sykes reciting lines from a self-help book and waxing lyrical on his childhood, a song. It’s more like a miniature EP within the EP itself, and despite being on a record of oddities, it feels separate from the rest of the tracks in the worst possible way. 

The more enjoyable aspects of’~GO TO~’ that anchor it to the real world and makes it an actual EP are the guest features. Halsey’s long-rumoured collaboration with the band finally rears its head in a rather entertaining cyberpunk-techno tune that wouldn’t go amiss on any of her own records. YONAKA’s verses on ‘±ªþ³§’ (pronounced ‘tabes’) are outside their comfort zone of the usual ‘Fueled By Ramen’ style, and if anything shows they can easily diversify a little themselves. Irish trip-hop trio HappyAlone feel in their element on ‘like seeing spiders running riot on your lover’s grave’, contributing an anxious-yet-calm ambient twist that complements the EP’s style well. Others like Toriel (Oliver Sykes’ wife Alissa Salls, who is also responsible for the EP’s artwork) and Lotus Eater are subtle but play into their respective tracks. Bexey’s feature on ’Big Underground’ is the exception as he contributes a rather lifeless verse to an already bloated track that’s a far cry from what he’s usually capable of,

 ‘~GO TO~’ is a well of interesting ideas, but without form or direction, it’s something of an aimless dump of sounds that will neither entertain BMTH die-hards or interest electronica fans. That’s not to say there’s zero enjoyment to be had: the experimental nature of the EP means you’re bound to find something new that you may unexpectedly find yourself liking, but being more of a sonic playground for Sykes and the gang to play around in than a proper release, it’s difficult to see it as anything but a rather random end of year release. Treat it as that, and you might get more enjoyment out of it than expected.

FIACHRA JOHNSTON

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