ARTIST: On The Wane
RELEASE DATE: 20th November 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Kiev based four piece 'On The Wane' merge a plethora of genres to form their collective sound, from sullen shoegaze to driving noise rock, throbbing post-punk to oscillating pulses of new wave and atmospherically tinged gothic influences. The band have returned with their third album, brilliantly titled 'Schism'. This new ten track LP follows on from their 2015 released long player 'Sick' and see's the band continuing on with their infatuation of brewing a heady and melodic concoction of stunning soundscapes. 'On The Wane' are Daria Maksimova - bass/vocals, Anna Lyashok - drums/vocals, Eugene Voitov - guitar/synth & Eli Demyanenko - guitar. 'Schism' gets it's full official release on November 20th 2017 and is available to pre-order right now via onthewane.bandcamp.com
Schism by On The Wane
'Schism' unfurls it's sonic tendrils swirling in a cloud of angry atmospherics as stunning vocalisations courtesy of Daria Maksimova ride a tempestuous feedback laden wave. 'Truth Isn't Bright' undulates on a pulsating wave of sequenced percussion and subtle bass frequencies underpinned with periods of fuzzy guitar and electronic whirrs. There's a truly magnificent post-punk edge cutting straight through this opening piece separated at times by jangling lead lines and the twang of whammy bar. Up next, 'Fear' creeps into earshot strapped to a bedrock of electronic percussion and the addictive hum of bass. Swirling vocalisations envelope the entire piece forcing you to focus primarily on their calmness as all around it swims in a dark atmospheric sea. Sublime guitars meld with catchy hooks steeped in reverb pulling this track into a raging break filled with tormenting instrumental progressions more akin to a kind of art-rock than anything else. It's a simply masterful track and really hard to tie down influentially making it a stand out piece on the album for me. 'Human Race' jangles into earshot swirling through layers of deep atmospheric reverberation wrapped around a blistering guitar progression. Sequenced percussion holds a motorik beat underfoot as undulating instrumental drones bellow and move atop throbbing bass frequencies. There are echoes of hard hitting post-punk meandering through these gothic tinged new wave vibes that intertwine with intense vocalisations. It's explosive chorus passages inject subtle moments of noisy shoegaze making it an utterly addictive listen.
'Sultry Song' drapes a sullen atmospheric film over proceedings as the pull of lead guitar battles vehemently through layers of reverb and busy percussion whilst continuously vying for space in amongst repetitive sequenced shakers and swells of dark fizzing synth. It's an angry animal; dark, oppressive and almost soundtrack like in it's approach thats majestically bolstered by another impressive vocal performance. Up next, 'Revenge (Deeper Than You Can Imagine)' bounds into the ether on a pulsating wave of off beat percussion, sporadic bass frequencies and resonating guitars. It's post-punk credentials are laid bare for all to see but there's an added hazy layer of production sitting just under the mix that makes this track stand out and watch out for the break half way through that will knock your socks off because the instrumental build that follows afterwards is absolutely immense. The slow almost metronomic opening bars of 'Alcohol' skulks into earshot riding a deep melodic bass line constantly harassed by punishing guitar stabs and menacing production theatrics. The vocal lines float effortlessly as it's verse parts play out, building in both intensity and atmosphere until we're finally thrown head first into a raging cacophony of instrumental noise as it's chorus parts shift up a gear and inject some fantastic noise-rock into proceedings. It's a blistering track and worthy of your ears.
'Drop Bombs' is a sonic call to arms and it explodes into a menacing crescendo with stunning vocal lines and brilliantly executed instrumentation culminating in a noisy angst ridden finale whilst 'The Real Coward' swirls around an opening guitar progression and a busy rolling drum pattern. It builds and builds before unleashing a broiling sonic behemoth filled with raging guitars and punishing production before calming into a slow burgeoning juggernaut, it's vocal lines leading the charge as we're led into a torrent of effortless noise. The albums penultimate track entitled 'Home' throbs as it enters the sonic arena. It's opening bars are instrumentally reminiscent of modern day psych with it's tumbling fuzz laden guitars and the angry throb of bass frequencies all riding a brilliant percussive beat but it's when the vocals arrive that this track comes into it's own. The collective instrumentation roll's and twist's to form a protective barrier around Maksimova's vocals, filling every space with noise and atmosphere and allowing the track to flow freely as it works through it's predesigned sonic structure. For me it shows another side to 'On The Wane', it's also pretty impressive and possibly my favourite track on the entire release. The album closes out rippling on a pulsating wave of fizzing electronics as a sullen vocal track materialises out of the ether. 'Bad News' draws fuzzy guitars and angry synths into the mix to meld with deep dark bass frequencies to deliver a short sharp shock. It's a brilliant ending to what is a very impressive album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Curelight Wounds
RELEASE: Constant Mind
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based noise makers 'Curelight Wounds' have returned with their highly anticipated follow up to their impressive 2016 four track EP release 'Wearing The Strings'. This new EP is the bands seventh release to date and is aptly titled 'Constant Mind'. It's as melodically fuzzy as it's predecessors and pulls with it many influencial genres of music from noisy shoegaze to post-punk, noise-rock to lo-fi. 'Constant Mind' gets it's full release on the 20th November 2017 and will be available to buy/download via curelightwounds.bandcamp.com from that date.
In a broiling undercurrent of senses pummelling instrumentation ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a sonic call to arms in the guise of ‘Sew It Back’, the opening salvo on this impressive collection of tracks and the EP’s lead single. Bass lines throb deliciously with post-punk abandon as they stick fast to a busy tambourine led percussive pattern and dodge the searing whip of those ever present lead guitars. It’s accompanying vocal lines quiver menacingly as they pulse through layers of reverb, brandishing an addictive 90’s alternative edginess that is very difficult to ignore. Up next, ‘Hot House’ is a swirling sonic behemoth that starts slow with those woozy whammy bar guitar theatrics before building progressively into a throbbing, bass heavy beast steeped in repetitiveness, screaming guitars and monotone vocalisations. It’s a sublime track and highlights what seems to me to be ‘Curelight Wounds’ perfecting the marvellous art of the ‘no nonsense’ two minute track that hits the nail on it's proverbial head.
The EP’s penultimate piece entitled ‘Distant Song’ shivers on a melody infused bass signature used primarily to instil a calmness as all around it explodes into a cacophony of noise. Guitar lines envelope nearly everything as a steady drum beat keeps meticulous time allowing the vocal lines to ride the tempo sitting comfortably in amongst the sonic melee. The ‘Constant Mind’ EP closes out with ‘Hard Sand’, a pulsating monster musically reminiscent of early ‘Pavement’ or even ‘The Fall’ with it’s driving bass signature, skittish percussion and those wailing guitars. It's a brilliant piece of music that ticks every sonic box as far as I'm concerned - fuzz, noise, throbbing melodic bass and tons of reverb. An absolutely brilliant end to thoroughly enjoyable EP.
RELEASE DATE: 10th November 2017
Barcelona based neo-psych duo 'Telescope' unleashed their debut self-titled three track EP to the masses back on November 10th 2017. With a sound reminiscent of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dungen and Tame Impala this sweet little release caught our attention instantly. The band are made up of Esteban Garós & Luis Pomés and you can buy/download this impressive release right now via telescopebcn.bandcamp.com
Telescope by Telescope
The EP opens up swirling in muggy reverberating haze. Magically melodic sound waves intertwine with a rambling vocal performance as 'With Your Truth' unfurls it's sonic tendrils and explodes into a cacophony of colourful frequencies. Plodding bass lines meander and undulate brilliantly under busy percussion as catchy hook laden chord changes and the pull of fuzz laden guitars lead us into whirring, looping lead lines and sublime passages of neo-psychedelia. Up next, 'Adrift' bounced into the ether on a melodic bass signature as tambourine hits and swirling organ swells announce the arrival of a catchy lead guitar line and reverb laden vocalisations. It's chorus parts are utterly addictive and they show off the songwriting prowess that this duo possess. There's also a fantastic modern psych feel to this track although it does have passages of 60's psych pop attached to it's kaleidoscopic vibrations.
The EP closes out with 'Not Your Game', a tumbling shimmering behemoth that rumbles through a melody strewn landscape filled with addictive bass fills, explosive percussion and brilliantly executed instrumentation. Leads guitars lick and harass impressive vocalisations before that synth line permeates the ether and instantly adds golden atmosphere to proceedings. A masterful ending to brilliantly executed EP.
RELEASE: Without EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th September 2017
Solip's 'Without' EP is a brutal beast of doom-laden gaze. It's a powerful thing, dark and oppressive. Self-released, it follows on from 2016's 2 track 'Dissociation' and takes a similarly dim view of life, the universe and everything. The EP was released back on the 28th September 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via solip.bandcamp.com
Without by Solip
Adaptation's deliberate droning sets the scene for a record with very little light. The double-time drumming is completely suffocating and massively impressive. 'Held In Place' is like a shuddering death march. It's so slow and crushingly heavy at first. The fear just seeps out of 'The Burning Car'. It's unsettling opening notes explode into a chorus of abrasive guitar sounds, and it feels like being buried alive with those pummelling drums, driving us deeper down. The EP closes with 'No Gomorrah', with its enveloping walls of wild guitar squall. And those drums, pounding the nails into all our coffins.
Hailing from Oakland, California, the four piece have created a record with the heft and gravity required for late 2017, when all seems pretty much lost. Embrace the dark, it's all we have.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
RELEASE DATE: 27th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
Chilean outfit Vuelveteloca began life over a decade ago and have previously released four full studio albums on various independent labels. They are renowned for their incredible live shows and have shared the stage with some immense noise manipulators such as 'A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Meadows, Spiritualized and Pond'. Their collective sound echoes through a rhythmic sonic concoction of driving psych, motorik krautrock and splattering's of space rock drenched in dark, heady and sometimes atmospheric stoner rock. To put it in layman's terms Vuelveteloca have that rare ability in today's scene to change it up by becoming sonic chameleons when needed. The band are made up of Tomas Olivos, Marcos De Iruarrizaga, Juan Gili and Mauricio Lacrampette and their fifth album entitled 'Sonora' gets it's full release on the 27th October 2017 via those ever reliable London based purveyors of all things lysergic 'Fuzz Club Records'. The album is available to pre-order right now on lovely deluxe or standard vinyl over at fuzz club.com
The heaving pull of reverberation stuck fast to a motorik percussive attack announces the arrival of ‘La Niebla’, the albums opening salvo. It’s throbbing bass frequencies arrive at break neck speed trapped in a haze of fuzz that bounces underfoot with the sway of lead guitar and those swirling vocalisations. This track meanders brilliantly as it builds through explosive chorus changes and passages of driving heavy psych laced with the repetitiveness of krautrock and alluring addictiveness of space rock. Up next, ‘Alta Montana’ bounds into the ether tumbling menacingly on a wave of pounding drums and deep resonating bass frequencies. Surging guitars add to the melee pulling an intriguing vocal line into the mix intertwining brilliantly with stinging lead lines and heavy atmosphere. The impressive instrumentation eventually morphs into a singular sonic behemoth, pulsing morse code like sound waves out into the ether. The repetitive thud of ‘Ataque Masivo’ tweaks this listeners attention as it pulsates through fuzzy bass frequencies and the throb of busy percussion. It builds ever so slowly with the arrival of those hazy vocal lines and subtle stabs of synth before exploding into a cacophony of sound that loops and arcs throughout, dragging a continuous chug of guitars with it as it brings us all on it’s magnificent lysergic hued sonic journey.
‘Carnaval’ gyrates and undulates into audible range stuck fast to a menacing but repetitive drum pattern accompanied by lines of blues orientated guitars, throbbing bass lines and addictive vocalisations. It pulsates and drives brilliantly as it carves out a sonic trough, morphing and manipulating sound with relative ease into one animalistic wave of angry spaced out noise whilst ‘L.A’ slows things down for a while to a crawling acid blotched psychedelic wave that washes shimmering frequencies over this listener as it envelopes golden tinged sounds, repetitive beats and reverberating fret noise. It pulls you in before exploding into an angry sonic behemoth that soars skywards wrapped in punishing lead lines and thunderous percussion. ‘Vuelveteloca’ merge the throbbing reverberations of ‘L.A’ with the spaced out vibes of ‘El Lado Frio’, extenuating the lysergic trip in the process by injecting some righteous space rock into proceedings. This track is as menacing as it is brilliant with fuzzy driving guitars, ear splitting reverb and the constant thud of immense percussion collectively circumnavigating those impressive vocal lines. There’s a subtle edge of garage psych underlining the opening bars of ‘Tormento’ that is utterly captivating. Explosive guitars, pounding percussion and the throb of overdriven bass acts as a kind of sonic conduit for those intriguing vocals that are permeated at times by piercing lead lines and intense atmosphere.
The album’s stunning penultimate piece arrives swirling in a high pitched instrumental drone. ‘Vuelveteloca’ unleash what is the best track on this album as far as I’m concerned as ‘Chepical’ unveils it’s kraut like credentials and streams into earshot riding a motorik percussive pattern, an totally addictive vocal line and unwavering guitar signatures. Soaring synths pulse in waves alongside catchy chord structures as a seemingly unmovable bass line orbits in close proximity to those explosive passages of percussion and chittering reverberation. ‘Chepical’ is one of those tracks that catches you off guard, spins you around the room and deposits you somewhere out the back end leaving you wondering what the fuck had just happened. Marvellous stuff indeed. The album closes out with it’s lead single. ‘Cientologia & Altiplano’ is a modern psych gem that builds and builds continuously in unison with a pounding drum track and driving instrumentation. Raging guitars swirl around humming bass lines that collectively stick to that motorik percussive pattern. It’s vocal lines arrive in a golden haze, strapped to a massive sonic surge. They rise and fall through sonic peaks and troughs before dropping into deep reverb filled caverns and soaring lysergic hued cloud structures with relatives ease. It’s a fitting end to a bloody marvellous album.
ARTIST: Deer Park Ranger
RELEASE DATE: 17th august 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records
'Moderation' is the second EP by Oakland based post-rock/ambient project 'Deer Park Ranger'. It’s a neat little release that puts aside assumption and pretentious musicology while still being as interesting as a full length album. It's a warm and fuzzy six track that’s as enjoyable as it is simple, smart as it is showy. Across the track listing 'Deer Park Ranger' mixes a Radiohead-esque approach to electronic instrumentation and programming, while underpinning the sound with post-rock progressions that flesh the whole thing out in an audibly enjoyable way. While some may pertain it to be ‘slight’ or simply background music, I feel a comfort in 'Moderation' that seems to be somewhat absent from much music that comes around under the banner of post-rock… and it is both refreshing and absorbing for just those reasons. The album was officially released back on August 17th 2017 via the good people over at Fluttery Records and it is available to buy/download right now from both fluttery records.com and deer-park-ranger.bandcamp.com respectively.
Moderation by Deer Park Ranger
'Moderation' begins with ‘Shipwreck’ and a bellowing, rumbling wall-of-sound style strum that slowly introduces background guitar melding. Where many of the other songs on Moderation project a happier, more enjoyable and perhaps bright-minimalist sound, ‘Shipwreck’ opens things in a much more downtrodden way. Beautiful piano guides the song into its second half, while the beat of a drum and what sounds to be a synth play calmly in the background. This is melodic ambient music at its best. ‘Another World, Another Time’ delves more cinematically, albeit with the same stripped back sounds of ‘Shipwreck’. The inclusion of what sounds to be a layer of brass instrumentation also adds a deeper dimension to the sound and song as a whole: an EP highlight. Even the small interlude ‘Old City’ is an impressively simplistic track in terms of the EP, and functions as a well rounded song despite its length and standing on the EP.
‘Time And Distance’ is perhaps the most post-rock that Deer Park Ranger goes: the opening threads picking lines of guitar together to make fantastic soundscapes and ambient textures. The eventual guitar-based tricks that Deer Park Ranger use to build and conjure mood also come across beautifully, especially when contrasted with the backing piano. A shorter song (around the same length as ‘Old City’) utilizes a post-punk drum beat, skeletal but well layered guitars and piano to create another fantastic track that builds up before pandering off slowly and carefully. In terms of beauty: through texturing, colour and layers, there is no greater track on 'Moderation' than ‘Seeing All The Shelves’: it’s a crescendo of instruments and soundscapes into a mesmerizingly mini-epic sound. Again, the greatest element of this sound is the tinkering piano that guides along the other instruments with power and subtletly that makes it less of a slog than you’re average prog-rock song.
Usually when somebody releases a post-rock or progressive rock album, we all spend our time listening and then stepping back, having had enough of one giant slog through sound as it was. Funnily enough, I feel like when I finished listening to 'Moderation' that I only wanted more. Its been a while since I’ve listened to something so soothing yet simple, so smart yet so stripped back, and so comforting while being slightly challenging. The production, much like the mixing, is of a top quality standard and it a brilliant and relaxing accompaniment to the flow of the sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
RELEASE: Molten Young Lovers
RELEASE DATE: 13th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Shelflife Records
The closest thing I can relate to Airiel's second album entitled 'Molten Young Lovers' is the 1980’s sound of shoegaze: which in its crawling faze was not just shoegaze but a neat mixture between dream pop, soul, synthpop and anything else you could fit in. 'Molten Young Lovers' is the kind of album that harkens to this older and more reminiscent sound while also adding flavours of current and modern day shoegaze scene. And just like the first rays of shoegaze that shone through in the 1980's, there is often a downtrodden and somewhat reflective quality to the album that makes it all the more rewarding to listen to and explore. 'Molten Young Lovers' was released back on the 13th October 2017 via the good folks over at 'Shelflife Records' with the album available to buy/download on various formats from both shelflife.com and airiel.bandcamp.com
Molten Young Lovers by Airiel
‘This Is Permanent’ opens with a drum machine heavy programmed beat that leads into a full scale shoegaze-led guitar progression. The soundscapes and layering of sound that flexes from the guitar adds a whole other level to the sound of the music, as well as the impressive (and loud) vocal performance. Much like the music of MBV, Airiel's brand of shoegaze are in fact linear pop tunes wrapped up with layers of wall to wall effects, and while Airiel are nowhere near as ear-shatteringly loud or echo-drenched as MBV, the same kind of under skin of musicality resides in both. ‘Cloudburst’ appears more as a dream pop track, ethereal and wavering in its backing: drenched with layers and layers of soaring synth and beautiful tones. The drums roll along to capture the essence of late 80’s, early 90’s breezy dream pop music; this transition continues onto ‘Your Lips, My Mouth’ which is a brilliantly original album highlight. This track adds more layering onto the already dense instrumental structure of ‘Cloudburst’ and a darker tone of colour to the music: mix this with the vocal and the shimmering guitar performance and you have a crafty mixture of nostalgic tones and a kind of contemplative feeling of desolation; fantastic.
‘Molten Young Lovers’ follows on with a more moody and ambient opening before sliding back into a dream pop-esque textured passage of guitars and rumbling, rolling drums. Between the rhythm section and a synth based soundscape at the back of the mix, ‘Molten Young Lovers’ offers a kind of post-punk element to the album, this stands at the background of what turns into a beautiful ballad. The lyrics, the delivery, are truly brilliant: these all blend together for added emotive depth and effect. ‘Mind Furnace’ slows things down and sounds similar to an interlude of sorts, unfortunately, the tracks blend of electronic based beats and ambience demonstrates a type of tedious and slight flavour.
‘Sharron Apple’ resumes the pace of the previous half of the album, extending the concept of layered guitar music to an almost noise rock level while also retaining the same kind of pop ballad aestethic of the previous songs also. ‘Song For You’ is an enjoyable song, albeit lengthy and slightly frustrating in its weight, but with several rewarding and attractive passages (especially the outro). Another rewarding but lengthy journey is the follower ‘Keep You’, which features some great keyboard and guitar playing, as well as a fantastic second half and outro. ‘Red Car’ returns to the aforementioned parameter of noise rock and more distorted guitar song, featuring a fantastic drum performance and musical cross over. ‘You Sweet Talker’ remains the strongest track on the albums weightier second half: its more ballad like approach, slow and slight crescendo and progression over its duration is a rewarding listening experience in relation to the other tracks on the album. ‘The Painkillers’ opens with a speedy drum and guitar lead section before diving into the downtrodden strums of the music at the beginning of the second half of the album. Its another emotive, vocal lead track, equipped with a neat double tap snare beat and a screeching central guitar riff.
If 'Molten Young Lovers' demonstrates one thing, it is that collectively Airiel are talented and creative songwriters; across the board the album features some fantastically encapsulating songs and performances to go along with them. The talent of the band themselves are also a strong playing factor in what makes the album a thoroughly enjoyable experience: each instrument is given as much time as the next, with equal delicacy and patience on each track as much so on the one before it. If there were criticisms to be made about the album it would be the length (twelve tracks) and the much more weighted down second half. The songs on the first half of 'Molten Young Lovers' seem to comfortably balance stylistic song writing with a comfortable weight and a brilliant sound. On the second half sometimes things tend to drag on and become slightly monotonous. Either way, it possesses some ridiculously well written songs that act as subtle reminders of past musical movements while simultaneously introducing the bands own original take on genres such as shoegaze and dream pop. Listen out for the stunning production, for the intelligent performance, and ultimately, for the sound.
Ghost by Holy Monitor
Hailing from the sunbaked Mediterranean shores of Greece, experimental neo-psych/krautrock space rockers ‘Holy Monitor’ have unleashed a stunning new single back in September entitled 'Ghost', a ten minute plus journey filled to it's psychedelic brim with magical incantational sonic energy. The band are made up of Stefanos Mitsis - guitars, Alex Bolpasis - bass, Vangelis Mitsis - synths/organs and George Nikas - drums/guitars/vocals and this latest single follows on from their absolutely stunning self-titled album released back in February 2017. The single is available to buy/download right now from holymonitor.bandcamp.com
'Ghost' shuffles into audible range on a glistening instrumental drone accompanied by the throb of synth and the fizz of effected electronics. It builds meticulously into a pulsating organism with the arrival of humming bass frequencies before tumbling headlong into a metronomic percussive beast. Plinking synth lines and waves of reverberation arrive adding lysergic atmosphere to the mix with every single chord change, allowing magnificent guitar progressions to lick and harass the piece to within an inch of it's life. Organ lines howl pulling clandestine vocalisations with them as they meander through layers of reverberation collectively merging with every other piece of the sonic jigsaw to bring us a mesmerising ten minutes of music.
ARTIST: Pia Fraus
RELEASE: Field Ceremony
RELEASE DATE: 16th October 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Seksound Records (EU) Shelflife (US) Vinyl Junkie (JPN)
Estonian dream-poppers 'Pia Fraus' formed in 1998 and released four studio albums and a handful of EP's on various record labels worldwide. Their collective sound is a sublime mixture of dream-pop, subtle shoegaze and beautiful electronica all topped off blissfully with shimmering layered vocalisations. The band are made up of Eve Komp - vocals/synths/metallophone, Kärt Ojavee - synths, Rein Fuks - guitars/vocals/percussion, Reijo Tagapere - bass and Margus Voolpriit - drums and after a ten year hiatus they have returned with a brand new album entitled 'Field Ceremony', to be released on October 16th 2017 via Seksound Records (EU) Shelflife (US) & Vinyl Junkie (JPN) with former member Kristel Eplik returning to record backing vocals and former drummer Joosep Volk also returning to direct the video for 'That’s Not All'. The full album is available to pre-order right now on various formats from the aforementioned record companies.
Field Ceremony by Pia Fraus
Entrancing sound waves swirl and meld effortlessly with the uplifting sweep of fizzing synth and woozy pull of reverberating guitars as ‘It’s Over Now’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and wraps itself around steady percussion and the throb of luscious bass frequencies. The repetitive vocal line floats effortlessly alongside sweeping electronics and the buzz of fret noise that steadily builds into a majestic crescendo of noise accompanied by the ghostly refrain of undulating reverb. ‘Never Again Land’ moves brilliantly through catchy chord changes and hazy instrumentation as a busy percussive pattern pulses through a pre-ordained flight path. The glorious duel vocal attack is simply mesmerising and it glides on waves of swirling synth, the hum of bass and those resonating guitar lines before collectively pausing for breath, held fast in a sticky lysergic hued instrumental break anxiously awaiting ejection into a grand finale. Up next, ‘Autumn Winds’ howls into audible range heckled by a screaming synth line before exploding into a colourful cacophony of sound. It charges headlong into a catchy melody driven fog filled with swirling almost incantational reverberations. Steady percussion, soaring synth and pulsing bass lines allow addictive guitar progressions to wrap themselves around another impressive vocal performance that loops and arcs brilliantly throughout the sonic ether.
‘Mountain Trip Guide’ rattles into existence on a lazy drum pattern as pulsating bass frequencies, fizzing electronics and surging synth swells glide in close proximity. Beautiful vocalisations swirl through catchy hook laden guitar progressions whipped by reverberating lead lines and addictiveness of effected slide guitar. ‘No Filters’ floats effortlessly on the up draft of impressive synth swells, the metronomic thud of percussion and the swirl of reverb as ‘Pia Fraus’ deploy a modern dream-pop gem. Shimmering guitars accompanied by the whirl of organ push the tempo on as the track builds momentarily before pulling back and gently descending to a final stop whilst ‘Endless Clouds’ lurches into a organ filled whirlwind peppered by the thrill of tremulous guitars and explosive drum patterns. Intense melody accompanies those gorgeous vocalisations as pulsating bass progressions wind their way through cascading synth and the pull of luscious reverb. Up next, the opening bars of 'Sugar High Of The Year' erupt into an fuzzy sonic behemoth filled with explosive percussion, raging guitars and soaring synth swells. The track echoes through quieter moments of instrumentation allowing the vocals to move through those impressive verse patterns before exploding into a mesmerising display of blissed out noise.
‘Don’t Tell Me How’ is simply divine and it shimmers and glides through undulating waves of instrumentation that glisten with graceful lustre, drenching melancholic vocalisations in scintillating reverberation that echoes and lingers with every single note, chord change or plucked string. It’s deeply infectious and beautifully constructed making it an album highlight for me. The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Brutal Truth Of The World’ opens up pulsing atmospherically through massive walls of hazy reverb hued guitars. Slow moving percussion, circumnavigated by the constant sweep of synth and the undulating rumble of bass accompany another impressive duel vocal performance laced with stunning melody that collectively leads the listener through pretty impressive instrumental passages of sonic light and shade right up until its finale. The album closes out with ‘That’s Not All’, a turbulent sonic whirlwind filled with woozy guitars, charging drum patterns, the plink of synth and the throb of bass frequencies all wrapped around those stunning melody driven vocalisations. A fitting ending to an absolutely marvellous album.
ARTIST: Ruins! Ruins!
RELEASE DATE: 10th August 2017
The rumbling sound of a deep but somewhat cinematic cello, backed by the rumbling march-beat of a drum and the occasional strum of a guitar opens up the wondrously bizarre carnival of music and sounds created by Russian natives Ruins! Ruins! A band who dwell somewhere in the Siberian forest. To accompany this contextual imagery of forests and the wild where the band reside is their own free form, dirty, heavy and dissonant brand of post-rock. I wish to clarify that when I say post-rock, I mean the furthest thing away from the ambient tinkerings and soundscape-backed light drone music that has come to represent the genre. Rather, Ruins! Ruins! project sludgy, progressive rock style ‘big’ riffs that are contrasted with passages of cello based, string music and playing of the utmost beauty. Together, these elements make their album Mammock a truly engaging deep dive into what can achieved in post-rock music with a bit of grit, distortion and experimentation.
Mammock by Ruin!Ruins!
‘Serene’ opens the album with the cello/drum/guitar sound that I begun the review with, operating as a neat intro to the heaviness and raw-rock sound of the album. ‘Hurricane’ captures the essence of the whole album: large, crunching and dirty, with several shifts in tempo and style to create balance along the way. Around the three minute mark, the music notably slows down to a fantastic chug of guitars and cello interlocked together before diving back into a wide scale of the songs origins. ‘Distress’ turns things even heavy and features some of the greatest textural blending on the whole release, especially towards the end of the song. ‘Grab’ opens with the feedback echo of a guitar and a drum beat that welcomes in a catchy bass line. Just as you think Ruins! Ruins! are going to turn it up again and go full on, crunch-down with their drums and guitars, they instead slow down and turn the song into a tight display of rhythm. ‘Arch’ sways on for over twelve minutes, and what first sounds interesting and appealing slowly turns into a slog through the preverbal mud. There are indeed interesting and perhaps even beautiful moments on the song, but its lengthy and overblown running time becomes exceptionally tiresome, especially with a middle section that is built around already explored territory. A brief dance with the china symbol just before the ten minute mark makes the last section the most enjoyably fascinating over the course of the entire song.
‘Kurta’ proves to be one of the albums highlights: its textural cresecendos are made all the more rewarding when the vast and wide prog breakdowns are backed by more ambient, sound scaped guitars. The drumming (as well as the other instruments) are of a strong and rewarding quality also. Chucking another over eleven minute song onto an already lengthy album is ridiculously game, but thankfully ‘Szorstki’ is a different beast altogether. Opening quietly and with a slow-burn progression into a much louder and more full sound, the song captures the essence of what fantastic progressive rock should be: tight, loose and a step-by-step journey into engaging sounds. ‘Collumns’ is the opposite: over six minutes of throughouly monotous down-strumming ‘hard’ rock. ‘Polynya’, however, is another fantastic track and definitely yet another album highlight. The border line black metal-esque opening receeds into long, slow, and downtrodden guitar scapes that build up again with the assistant of tight and melodic drumming.
'Mammock' is an interesting mixed bag of sounds. Sometimes its bordering on feats of alternative and prog-metal, other times it shows the listener nothing more than beautiful cello and tight yet simplistic drumming. The underlying genre of the whole release, however, is that chuggy-chug-chug-chug prog rock sound… Which becomes tedious as easily as it becomes interesting. The first half of this album is a fascinating exercise in dirty, open ended prog and post-rock musings, but by the time the second half of 'Mammock' rolls around, things start to feel a bit on the tiresome side. I completely have nothing against lengthy songs or lengthy albums, but where fantastically original bands such as WTCHS and My Invisible Friend triumph in their extended adventures through sound, Ruins! Ruins! don’t alter things quite enough to keep themselves in the ball game. Similiarly, they don’t keep it avant-garde or experimental enough to justify their song writing choices. Of course, there are redeeming features throughout the album: almost the entire first half is enjoyable and engaging and select songs thorugh the second half retain this neat and original flavour. Also the performances are of a fantastically strong quality, balancing the enjoyable production with a heavy yet melodic sound.