On the radar: Poly-Math

Math-rock, prog, post-rock - whatever we're calling it this week - it's on the rise. Exhibit A: in summer 2016 Brighton's experimental trio Poly-Math headed to their spiritual home ArcTanGent festival for the third time, a weekend that seems to grow more popular with each event.

When your pedalboard is too heavy to carry, that's when you've gone too far

"There is a movement," reckons guitarist Tim Laulik-Walters. "Bands are making a name for themselves. Pop music is so stagnant, but it feels like this music is less underground now."

Poly-Math's timing is good, but not coincidental. They've caught a wave they helped create. Having started as a side project, it's become the main outlet for a player who grew up idolising the atonality of Jonny Greenwood or Graham Coxon.

Rip it up and start again

"I like those guys that you can listen to and go, 'Wow, how did you make that work?'" reveals Tim. "I think it's just a rejection of pop music and the same four chords. It needs to keep me interested, because if I'm getting bored as the player, someone else is way earlier."

2016's excellent EP Melancolia shows the possibilities for this ruleless re-imagining of rock music, toying with tones and dynamics and showing a Mastodon-like mastery of complex heavy guitar craft. Tim uses his tools with precision - favouring a Hagstrom Swede through a combination of Orange and Hovercraft amps. His pedalboard, which is the size of the European mainland, is another matter…

"I can just about lift it," he says, when we challenge his economy. "When it's too heavy to carry, that's when you've gone too far!"

  • For fans of: Alpha Male Tea Party, Battles
  • Hear: Ekerot


Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.