Filed under: Narc, Reading | Tags: Haiku Salut, Laish, Narc, Smoking Hearts
Haiku Salut – Tricolore (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?)
Haiku Salut have me stumped. Sure, I can describe them as gorgeous, inventive, summery, captivating and uplifting. But when it comes to describing how they actually sound, I’m struggling for references. There’s a sense of adventure and restlessness here, and a brilliant variety of instruments and song structures, that suggests Psapp or even The Books (especially on the glitchy, almost Aphex Twin-like Leaf Stricken). More sedate, mournful tunes like Los Elefantes have a dash of Michael Nyman or even Beirut with a wonky drum machine. Closing track No, You Say It builds to an Orbital-style ‘taste the lasers’ climax. But those are just clues. Looks like you’ll have to get hold of a copy and work it out for yourself.
Laish – Obituaries (Folkwit)
Laish come burdened with the ‘indiefolk’ tag – a poisoned chalice, and not entirely accurate: their intricate, string and wind driven baroque sound suggests that they’re really a kind of ‘chamber-indie’ band, not unlike Brighton contemporaries The Miserable Rich. There’s a lot going on here, and most of it works: the lush, percussive Visions has a shimmery acoustic vibe that somehow calls to mind The Sea & Cake), the title track is brilliantly rousing and Warm The Wind would be a smash hit in another, far lovelier universe. Sometimes the songs don’t quite live up to the arrangements, and main man Daniel Green’s vocals sometimes slip from ‘heartrendingly lugubrious’ to ‘out of tune’, but those are minor quibbles about a major discovery.
The Smoking Hearts – Victory! (Bomber Music)
There’s something about Victory! that doesn’t quite gel for me, and I think it’s the vocals: singer Ben Mills seems to be in a different band than everyone else – a really serious and angry screamo band, probably. Perhaps his AWESOMELY named predecessor Rodd Lethal was less intense? Still, the music is pretty rocking – a kind of good-time punk / hardcore blend, complete with some positively cheerful singalong backing vocals that really lift some of the tracks – Seatbelts in particular. Things are going well – everyone gets drunk and hugs and compares tattoos – but then along comes Ben with his ‘I’m a scary monster’ larynx shredding angst and harshes everyone’s buzz by going on about, like, ‘issues and stuff’.
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