Of course, that's part of the appeal. The metallic screech that comes in after 40 seconds of the hushed speech-sample introduction cuts like a katana across the eardrum, but the duo rarely reach that level of tension again. From the staticky, uneven hum of "Chamber" through to the slo-mo dubstep of "Limousine," Childs and Rendall revel in silence. That also puts Rendall's vocals in sharp relief, and they only hold up half the time—inspired at their best and like hackneyed slam poetry at their worst. He's joined on a few tracks by an uncredited female vocalist, who duels with rusty strings on the fantastically eerie "Don't Fall Down" and duets with Rendall on the hollowed-out trip-hop of "Empty Days," hinting at Bristol's rich heritage of downtrodden music.
As sonically interesting as Kwaidan is, it recedes back into the shadows a little too soon, without offering much to stick in your brain. Jabu show a lot of promise, but their latest EP is too illusory to really grab you.