Side-projects can sometimes go overlooked, but it’s pretty hard to ignore the high concept surrounding Bombay Bicycle Club bassist Ed Nash’s debut record as Toothless. Based around Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 ‘Powers Of Ten’ film (which first looks at a couple before zooming out to interstellar proportions before focusing back on the pair), each song on ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ is meant to be a still from a movie, which eventually reveals itself to be made up of interconnected events.
Other than recognising a few astrological references here and there though, you could be forgiven for missing the interconnectedness of the songs. Not that this really matters too much. ‘The Pace Of The Passing’ is filled with intricate bursts of indie pop, sometimes embellishing its tracks with glassy percussion (‘Sisyphus’) or plucked strings (‘Palm’s Backside’). A wealth of guest vocalists, including Marika Hackman and Wild Beasts’ Tom Fleming, also help to give an added sense of scale, with The Staves’ sweet vocals on ‘The Sirens’ the perfect representation of those beguiling yet deadly mythological creatures.
But, in trying to represent a bigger picture, things do sometimes get overly complex. On ‘Alright Alright Alright,’ Ed’s delicate vocals become hard to pick up on underneath layers of riffs and drums. Then there’s ‘You Thought I Was Your Friend (I Want To Hurt You),’ which attempts to mash together almost Britpop guitar licks with a leftfield vocal performance. It’s a bit like listening to someone attempting to fit a round peg into a square hole. But while he might have occasionally bitten off a little more than he can chew, there’s still undeniably some moments with serious bite here.