Speakers Push Air


Narc July 2012 – Album & Singles Reviews
July 13, 2012, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: , , , , ,

Singles July 2012

You know those months where the singles pile is just a never-ending cavalcade of pure  pop delight? Well, this isn’t one of those, as Lee Fisher discovered. And he’s not happy.

My Goodness are the latest, Seattle-based  take on the Black Keys / White Stripes blues duo set-up. And they sound… okay. I suspect worlds will remain unrocked by ‘C’Mon Doll’ but it’s decent in a hoary old blues rock kinda way. Oh, and here’s Deap Vally, the latest, LA-based take on.. Well, you get the picture. Like My Goodness but more shrill and more scenester.  There should be a deeply draconian law against Broadcaster and his skin-crawling ‘updates’ of folk classics in a big beat / synth pop style. He should get tarred and feathered for what he’s done to ‘First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)’. And if If there’s any tar and feathers left, we can do Ben Montague next, the stadium-mimsy idiot hole. ‘Love Like Stars’? Love Like Piles more like, you blathering cruise-ship  arse.

My Goodness

If Broadcaster hadn’t pissed me off so much, I’d say that the new Real Estate single ‘Exactly Nothing’ was pleasantly jangly, in an ‘it’s always summer in our town and aren’t our fringes cool?’ sort of indie pop way. But I am pissed off, and it’s never bloody summer up here, so they can shove their dreamy Yo La Tengo pastiche up their pasty indiekid arses. BlakMagikSociety clearly think they’re the vanguards of a new psychedelic revolution, a fuzzbox-fuelled Age of Aquarius. They’re not, and ‘Our Time’ is just irritating. Dirty Projectorspush all the wrong buttons – self-consciously arty, pompous even – but after the torrent of shite I’ve just had to listen to, Gun Has No Trigger is a delight – charming, ambitious and not by Broadcaster.

Dirty Projectors

On debut single ‘New Kids’, The Neat manage to sound like The Very Things, which is both extremely unlikely and strangely pleasing in 2012. Scrappy and urgent and pretty damn good. If you’re going to take your name from the Nation of Ulysses you’d better be awesome. The Hickey Underworld aren’t awesome, although The Frog has a pleasingly menacing lope that reminds me a bit of Wolfgang Press.  Praise be, finally, for Arrows Of Loveand their dirty sleazy blues grind, joining the dots between Ligament and Pussy Galore and sounding sick and twisted in all the best ways. Honey really is one of the most exciting singles I’ve heard this year.

Albums

Mission Of Burma – Unsound (Fire)

While they usually get namechecked alongside Black Flag or Bad Brains in terms of shaping hardcore punk in the US, Mission Of Burma always had more in common with bands like Wire or Pere Ubu – angular, arty, decidedly unmacho. First time out, they had a Velvet Underground-like impact on the hardcore scene (hardly anyone bought their records but everyone who did formed a band: their songs have been covered by everyone from Graham Coxon to Moby). And with this new album (their fourth in a ‘comeback’ which has now lasted much longer than their original incarnation) there’s no sign of them easing up or settling into a comfortable groove. They have no interest at all in providing some kind of heritage kick for ageing punkers. MoB (now augmented by Shellac’s Bob Weston on production, tape effects and, erm, trumpet) are cracking on a bit now but there’s still a restlessness and invention at work here that shames bands half their age: take This Is Hi-Fi, which moves from a morse code staccato to a car crash of slashing guitars and chanted vocals.  Even the more typically ‘punk’ numbers like What They Tell Me or the closer Opener have a discordant, military-sounding bugle or a particularly twisted riff to stop things being too easy. To be honest, there’s always been much about Mission Of Burma that’s easier to admire than it is to love –their cussed awkwardness and spikiness is both a strength and a weakness – and that’s as true with Unsound as any of their previous albums. But while many of their contemporaries are happy to rehash the same old punk tropes, Mission Of Burma sound as fresh and intense as ever, refusing to let their ‘legend’ status do all the heavy lifting.

4/5

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Laetitia Sadier – Silencio (Drag City)

If, like me, you’ve had a Stereolab obsession for the last couple of decades, a new Sadier album is a worrying thing, especially after her last couple of releases, which were pretty dismal. Initial signs are good – opener ‘Auscultation To The Nation’ blends a familiar motorik groove with sweetly sung political insights and it feels like we’re on safe ground. But a handful of fine tracks aside (Silent Spot especially), Silencio feels insubstantial, with too many songs drifting by without making much impact. Sadier still has a gorgeous voice but hasn’t succeeded in coming up with anything to really call her own since Stereolab, which is why those songs that sound most ‘Lab are the ones that work best, and that’s a shame.

3/5

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Necro Deathmort – The Colonial Script (Distraction)

My original review of The Colonial Script read simply: “skullfuckingly ace” but apparently that was a bit short. In a recent piece for The Quietus, Angus Finlayson talked about how, with their attention to bass weight and sonics, Sunn O))) had much in common with the dance scene. Necro DeathMort do their bit to square that circle. In adding textures and beats from D&B and dubstep to brutal, intense guitars and vocals, the duo come up with something very special: sure, there are hints of Justin Broadrick’s various projects, a touch of Scorn and even some industrial flavours, but the Necro Deathmort sound – ecstatically eerie, gloriously heavy – is pretty fucking unique. If, like me, you find beauty in the bleak and oppressive, you’ll LOVE this album.

4/5


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