Colour Carnival impress with sophomore EP ‘Panic Sold’

words fae Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

Edinburgh-based psych rock outfit Colour Carnival are one of the more eclectic acts to emerge from Leith Recording Company in recent months. Whilst their debut Count The Flies puts out a feast of different sounds for listeners to gorge on, it felt at times that certain elements didn’t quite belong on the plate. Their latest EP, on the other hand, constitutes a significant step forward for the three-piece group in their effort to distill down a myriad of influences into a slicker, more cohesive package. Panic Sold glides between various styles in a manner which is not only effective, but begins to build the foundations of their very own unique sound.

Ready For This kicks off with a blistering drum intro and some neat, intricate clean guitar work before giving way to crashing cymbals and distortion. The rhythm section of Graeme Jarvie and Michael Stuart does a great job of controlling the ebb and flow, especially as the structure is fairly freeform; in fact, none of the tracks on the EP are really your bog standard verse/chorus affair. It’s encouraging to see that Colour Carnival’s songwriting is already fairly accomplished at this early stage of their career, by and large avoiding pitfalls such as repetitive melodies or tired indie rock cliches.

Moral Rachet continues to impress as it begins with jabs of jarring, dissonant guitar and weaving basslines as Simon Anderson takes aim at the hypocrisy of the gun lobby – “hit me with your moral ratchet / candle vigils, thoughts and prayers” – before bursting into life midway with an almost palpable release of tension, providing a wonderful contrast to the anxiety of the first half. It’s a sign that they’re able to experiment and incorporate the odd tastefully deployed guitar solo without giving off the impression it’s been thrown in ‘for the hell of it’.

Penultimate track Run Its Race suddenly takes the EP in a new direction, and is testament to the band’s ability to switch it up. There’s some really nice touches throughout – the guitar hook is pretty damn catchy, plus the seemingly innocuous synths during the verse actually work to great effect. It’s undoubtedly a highlight and you’d be hard pushed to find a better starting point for the curious or the uninitiated.

The step-up from debut to sophomore EP is marked, and if Colour Carnival continue on this trajectory, they’re looking like a very hot prospect indeed. Once they smooth out some of the rough edges production-wise, such as the occasionally muddled vocals, they look more than capable of serving up a slice of brilliance on their next outing.

‘Panic Sold’ is set to be released June 29th. You can listen to it and buy a digital copy here.

Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross meld indie music with spoken word on ‘Experience Essential’

words fae jen hughes (@dearoctopus4)rating 7

Experience Essential is the debut album from Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross, a collaboration between spoken word performer Kevin P. Gilday and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Hector. It’s a kaleidoscope of poetry and colourful indie music, and one of the strangest albums you’re ever likely to hear. Picture this: you’re at a party. You are stoned, not enough to be out of it but just enough to go with the flow. You meet some guy in the smoker’s area, and you could sit and listen to this guy’s smooth accent all day. Because you’re a bit intoxicated, you don’t pick up everything but the nuggets you do speak to you on a deeper level. This is how best to describe this album.

It isn’t really rap music. Where rap music marches to the beat, spoken word floats alongside it at a leisurely pace. It does not try and stay on the beat because that is not the point. Each track is a window into Kevin P. Gilday’s life, from his experiences on Glasgow’s surprisingly enthusiastic poetry scene (The Plates Keep Spinning… pt 1 & pt 2; I’ve Fallen Out of Love With Poetry), his working class upbringing (To Live and Die in Denniston) to his political leanings (How To Spot A Tory) and his commentary on masculinity (Me, Masculine Me; Hitler’s Moustache). His poetry tends to be more humorous but also self-effacing and self-aware. The songs themselves tend to stick to only one or two musical ideas or motifs and don’t stray far from these within the track. Each track’s musicality is varied enough, and tracks don’t drag on for long enough that this would be a problem. To listeners whose primary interest lies in poetry, this is not a concern anyway as spoken word still takes precedence here.

The spoken word/music combination is a hard sell and is difficult to pull off, especially if you’ve heard any of William Shatner’s cover songs: they are hilarious. While there are a few weaker tracks in Experience Essential, where the musical ideas do not work as well with the spoken word, the majority of the album is reasonably enjoyable. For the most part, Gilday and Hector can bring the two aspects together to a good standard, though there are some tracks that didn’t work well to the point where it distracted from what was being said. With these tracks, it’s a case of two ideas not working well as a combination but fine separately.

kpgandtgc_3

Out of all the singles to be released, Atheist’s Prayer is a particular highlight. A smooth, melancholic synth accompanies Gilday as he asks the opening line, “Who do the atheists pray to?”. It sounds like rain and smoke. Gilday’s performance of this song is passionate, and the music reflects this as it crescendos and brings in guitar and drums. Arguably, the tracks released as singles aren’t the strongest on the album; for example, The Man Who Loved Beer, which was released first, gets things off to a shaky start as the music noticeably detracts from the spoken word. On the other hand, it’s possible that the upbeat rock music reflects the mood of the poem itself, so it could be there for good reason.

Other recommended tracks are mostly deeper cuts from the album such as The Vision (Jesus of Possil), How To Spot A Tory and There’s a Workie in My House, which touch upon themes of the divisive nature of social class. They’re both humorous but self-aware. The Vision talks about what would happen if the reincarnation of Jesus Christ visits Possilpark, Glasgow, whilst There’s A Workie in My House describes the time a repairman came to fix Kevin’s boiler, prompting him to reflect on his own career.

As a poet and a music enthusiast, it’s difficult not to admire that a fellow Glasgow poet is bringing two worlds together. If you’re a music fan who is looking for that gateway drug into spoken word, Experience Essential would be as good a place to start as any. Gilday’s poetry is genuine, relatable, not too reliant on references to classical texts or other poets you may not have heard of and – for the most part – unpretentious. As an added bonus, the music itself is pretty decent. There’s bound to be at least one track on the album you can relate to, so for that reason, it’s highly recommended to check it out and discover which track you relate to most.

Gig Review – Car Seat Headrest @ O2 ABC, Glasgow

words + photos fae owen yule (@OwenYule)

With the releases of both Twin Fantasy and Teens of Denial, Car Seat Headrest has firmly solidified themselves as one of the most exciting bands on the indie rock scene. At the heart of these records is Will Toledo’s brutally honest lamentation and so, Toledo’s personality seems somewhat contrary to the typical characteristics of a zealous performer. In addition, what makes these records so great was the flawless amalgamation of varies styles of rock – Toledo has never shied away from structurally audacious tracks that manage to evoke the whole spectrum of emotion, and it’s for these reasons that I had my reservations upon entering last night’s venue.

Taking the mature decision to relinquish full control of his tracks, Will takes centre stage without a lead guitar. Rather, he performs with a microphone and his eccentricities. Not only is this decision indicative of Will’s efforts to recapture the sincerity of the studio recorded vocals, but also one that enables the flawless execution of the aforementioned complex tracks. This decision is reinforced by the bands performance of Cute Thing, which sees Toledo vocalising harmonies beautifully between the aggressive choruses.

Playing live with a 6-piece outfit, the band makes full use of their camaraderie to recreate the groove of Bodys that invigorates energy throughout the whole crowd. Nonetheless the band was never superfluous with their instrumentation and every note carried weight. The intimacy of tracks like Sober to Death wasn’t lost amongst the 6 members; rather, it was actualised by the efforts of each player. The performance of the track is initially stripped down before coming to full fruition in conjunction with the energy of the chorus.

image1

Although Toledo’s lyrical poignancy is somewhat derived from his personal anguish and insecurity, he was never a passenger on stage. Instead, he navigated the venue with confidence that brought a new vitality to the music without losing a personal touch. This was foreshadowed in the opening cover of the ever-funky Talking Heads’ Crosseyed and Painless. A track whose reputation is daunting in its gravitas, yet ever so delightfully incorporated into Car Seat Headrest’s live performance. Carrying out the 1980 classic, the band reimagines Talking Heads’ signature groove with cowbell orientated funk.

Their ambition here is carried with momentum all the way through to Toledo’s own rendition of Frank Ocean’s White Ferrari. Well aware of his vocals limitations, Toledo substitutes technical proficiency for heart wrenching emotion that mediates any incapability to recreate Ocean’s vocal expertise (as if one could ever be reprimanded for that shortcoming). Incited, and perhaps somewhat confused by the chants in unison of Glasgow’s very own little concert mantra, the band returned to the stage to encore Nervous Young Inhumans. After moving the crowd with Bodys, inspiring a wholehearted sing along with Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales and awakening mosh pits with Beach-Life-In-Death, Nervous Young Inhumans provokes the very same reactions as all of these tracks in a manner that is equally infectious.

While Car Seat Headrest’s appeal somewhat relies on the expression of alienation on their records, in a crowd of hundreds the band still instigates the same fundamentals of their recordings to their enthusiastic live audience.

Preoccupations hit their stride on latest LP ‘New Material’

by kieran cannon (@kiercannon)rating 7

On first impressions, it’s difficult to deny that Preoccupations aren’t particularly creative when it comes to dreaming up album names – after all, their first two full-length records are self-titled. Back when they recorded under the Viet Cong alias, their eponymous debut Viet Cong – while critically acclaimed – courted fairly significant controversy due to its historical and political connotations. After it became abundantly clear their band name was no longer tenable, the group mulled over a new name for several months before announcing they’d henceforth be known as Preoccupations. The album to usher in this new era for the group? Er… Preoccupations.

There’s beauty in simplicity, though. Just as Preoccupations was, in fairness, the perfect descriptor for the compulsive, anxious mood of their sophomore album, New Material is a surprisingly apt title for their third and latest effort. Compared to the nervous energy and angular riffs of previous records, they’ve sanded down the sharp edges. The result? A much more accessible, more nuanced record which transports them further still from their noise rock roots without sacrificing any of their lyrical sincerity or expression.

Lead single Espionage kicks off proceedings with some familiar industrial noise; what follows, however, is much warmer and less abrasive than we’ve come to expect from the Canadian quartet, leaning more heavily towards synths instead of the characteristic razor-sharp stabs of guitar. Whereas before it felt like Matt Flegel’s vocals were screaming, arms outstretched against a tidal wave of sound, now he rides the wave in seemingly greater harmony. This frenzied approach undoubtedly worked a treat on previous recordings, but it seems they’ve now settled down into a more comfortable groove.

With each subsequent album, Preoccupations are undergoing a marked series of changes – some subtle, some more apparent. Despite this willingness to traverse new territory, they certainly don’t seem reluctant to pay homage to post-punk forebearers such as Wire and Joy Division, the latter in particular on tracks like Solace. There’s no mistaking that distinctive Unknown Pleasures-era snare drum sound or the ominous Peter Hook style bass lines, but by no means is this a knock-off, supermarket own brand version. They’re taking cues from classics of a bygone era and using them tastefully as part of their modern, progressive take on the genre, resulting in one the highlights of the album with the thrilling conclusion to Solace.

Since their inception, multi-instrumentalist producer extraordinaire Scott “Monty” Munro has devoted a great deal of effort to achieving a certain aesthetic, ultimately hoping to “make a record where nobody knows what instrument is playing ever,” unleashing the full firepower of his gadget arsenal to this end. With that goal in mind he has been largely successful in creating fascinating and unique soundscapes across the entire recording, ranging from the expansive to the claustrophobic. Very occasionally, though, the sheer wall of sound becomes overbearing; reverb-drenched vocals leave the otherwise punchy Disarray feeling a bit washed out and lacking in oomph. These moments are few and far between, however. By and large, it’s an extremely well-produced and cohesive record.

The topic of the band’s unceremonious rebranding presents a strange paradox – a singer whose lyrics are dystopian, introspective and very often cathartic but who (along with his fellow musicians) seems disinclined towards being taken too seriously or becoming too political. Recognising that perhaps their original choice was ill-judged in nature, the easiest course of action seemed to be a change of identity to prevent it overshadowing their music and distracting people from the real message they’re trying to convey. If that was the major transition between their first two albums, they’ve taken a step further with New Material. By doing away with the 12-minute behemoth tracks, they’ll undoubtedly win over yet more listeners who might’ve found the sheer graft involved with listening to songs like that offputting.

One thing is for certain, though. Preoccupations remain a hot prospect for the future and it’ll be intriguing to see how they continue to forge their own path among their modern post-punk contemporaries. They’re tantalisingly close to greatness and, if we’re all lucky, their pioneering nature will hopefully see them reach those heights with subsequent releases.

Lucy Dacus delivers an emotional sucker punch on new LP ‘Historian’

by sarah hughes (@hollowcrown)rating 7

American singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus proves herself a ferocious storyteller and stellar musician in this emotional departure from her 2016 debut No Burden. By exploring different styles throughout her latest LP, Historian, she is developing her own signature sound whilst maintaining her ballad credentials. With two carefully curated singles under this record’s belt, the music community is anticipating which direction this incredible artist will take her talent next.

The structure of this album is paramount in exploring a hurtful separation – the first half is raw and unfiltered then, as the songs play out, they become more mature and resolved. Stylistically this creates incredible contrast and atmosphere, and by using this method Dacus enthralls the listener in her heartache.

Around the halfway mark there seems to be a lull in energy, with songs like Nonbeliever failing to delivering the catharsis we expect from a break up record. As a result, we are left somewhat pining for more; however, this dip in energy serves a symbolic purpose in conveying the long and melancholic halt of life after someone leaves, and strongly reinforces the growth later exemplified in the record with songs like Timefighter delivering that punch we were previously denied. Lucy Dacus successfully involves the audience in her own personal healing process whilst remaining relatable which, in turn, outputs a powerful record.

In comparison to her previous efforts, there is a very apparent adjustment of her songwriting ability and character. She has developed a signature of intense build-ups in her songs – they often start frail and build to strong numbers. In addition to this, she has experimented more freely throughout Historian than ever before, playing with synths, samples and classical strings; songs like The Shell, for example, benefit from these extra sounds as they add to the tone and romanticise an otherwise angst-ridden story.

In Body to Flame, a track from the latter portion of the album, the introduction of classical strings adds maturity and refinement. Soliloquys are also a really interesting tool Dacus uses to evoke a reaction from the audience and project the solitude she is feeling, particularly in album closer Historians, a track which shows a lot of influence from Deerhunter and parallels the lingering pain of their instrumentals. This is perhaps the most melancholic point of the record, as it’s the final curtain and she is finally letting go.

As a whole, this release cements Lucy Dacus as an independent, ferocious musician, well on her way to making waves in the scene. There’s an obvious progression from her first album, and she is striving to push her own boundaries and experiment with her newly-found signature style.

Caroline Rose bucks the trend with her third LP ‘LONER’

ALBUM REVIEW

by kieran cannon (@kiercannon)rating 7

Burlington singer-songwriter Caroline Rose is virtually unrecognisable as the same star of the show from I Will Not Be Afraid and America Religious. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, her career progression into 2018 – according to an interview with Rookie Mag – is marked by a hefty dose of ego-dismantling and less of a desire to be taken too seriously, a refreshingly blithe approach which is often overlooked and underappreciated as an artistic quality.

On her latest release, LONER, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Gone are the obvious country/roots-rock sensibilities and in their place – well, near enough everything else. This latest output demonstrates her refusal to conform or stick to one genre for too long and as a result, she has avoided being pigeonholed as simply “another folk singer”. If the album art wasn’t a dead giveaway (smoking an entire pack of cigarettes with a vacant expression, post-workout), you can expect heaps of wry humour and plenty of sardonic mockery.

The title of opening track More of the Same couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s apparent from the opening salvo of staccato organ that this is unlike anything we’ve heard before from Caroline Rose; in fact, the only real indication you’re listening to the same artist is her distinctive, piercing vocals. Here, she mulls over feelings of disillusionment as she loses faith in people, in ideals she once looked up to – as if the rug has been pulled out from under her.

By no means is this markedly melancholic start a reliable indicator, though. The rest of the album benefits from plenty of injections of derisive humour and lightheartedness, particularly on numbers like Money where she fires off consumerist critique to the tune of groovy blues guitar. Same, too, goes for Soul No. 5 – so named because it has been through five different iterations, eventually ending up (after advice from co-producer Paul Butler to just “take the piss out of it“) as an immensely danceable slice of pop-rock.

Since taking over the reins of producing, Rose has managed to merge the tracks together with a cohesive sound which is ultra-slick yet sharp-edged. That being said, one or two tracks – particularly Cry! and Talk – have a tendency to wash over you when you’re listening to the entire record as some of the arrangements begin to teeter on the edge of becoming formulaic.

Worry not, though – your attention will immediately be grabbed again by tracks like Bikini, a fiery blast of feminist punk the likes of which Kathleen Hanna would be proud. It’s very much an emphatic ‘up yours’ to the unrealistic, highly sexualised standards expected of female artists by music executives. Jeannie Becomes a Mom checks out this idea of failing to live up to what society expects of you through a different prism; an amalgamation of stories about her friend’s unintentional pregnancy and her own anxieties.

In many ways, this record encapsulates several different struggles we all undoubtedly face at some point in our lives – feelings of loneliness and anxiety about living up to expectations, but also a certain level of detachment from the world around us. While her previous output has been rightly lauded for its earnestness, it’s a breath of fresh air to see she’s now adopted a much more shoulder-shrugging, defiant approach. It’s not that she doesn’t give a shit anymore – it’s more a case of her discovering new ways of dealing with these problems. Armed with straight-faced sarcasm and a willingness to deploy her vast array of vocal techniques for effect, Caroline Rose simultaneously ridicules and manages to be uniquely relatable. Along the way she stalls once or twice, as would be expected of any artist who takes such a drastic change in creative direction; however, there are more than enough moments of sheer, unadulterated fun on this album to look past it.

Rejjie Snow’s first full length album ‘Dear Annie’ cements him into a firm place in the world of hip-hop

ALBUM REVIEW

By Ross Malcolm (@RossM98)

If you take a look at the world of the British hip-hop scene a couple years back, things look pretty scarce in terms of talent. As the ever-opinionated American rapper Azealia Banks put it, no American rappers are looking to the UK for any sort of tips. Be as angry as you want to be. But facts are facts.”. Excluding the rapidly growing appeal for grime, the UK never had much to offer in rap. Up steps Rejjie Snow: an Irishman who has just dropped out a football scholarship in America to pursue a career in music that has led him to become one of the most established young rap artists to date.  

The 24-year-old caught the attention of the masses when he released his first EP Rejovich, which immediately topped the iTunes hip-hop charts ahead of releases from massive artists like Kanye West (The Life of Pablo) and J. Cole (Born Sinner). Between 2015 and 2017 Snow dropped a handful of singles, feeding fans the breadcrumbs that lead up to his first full project in 2017, The Moon & You. The project itself was a little unfocused but it made one thing clear – Rejjie had a lot to say. On Dear Annie, instead of choosing to write about the intriguing story of his journey towards this album thus far, Snow instead opts for a deep introspection of his emotions and touches upon a particular feeling dealt with by many an artist – love. An abundance of this substantial album is directed towards his struggle to sustain a relationship for long and how he copes with this.

Opening tracks Hello and Rainbows have a feel-good funk production that resonates with Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. With a fresh style of high-cut delivery and a lazy flow, Rejjie sets the reflective tone of this project from the get-go. The theme continues throughout into 23, a laid-back rant about his previous lover and an outlook on his relationship insecurities while Mon Amour is a sour look back on his quarrels with ‘Annie’, despite his strong desire for reconciliation with her. It isn’t all doom and gloom, however; the album has its uplifting points such as Egyptian Luvr. Featuring exciting up and coming prospects like flow-specialist Aminé and the smooth voice of Dana Williams, Snow discusses the importance of cherishing what you have because of the unpredictability of the future. The album’s leading single brings a fresh style and tone to the table – Dana Williams’ R&B tone and Rejjie’s confident delivery intertwines perfectly with the production that takes influence from J Dilla.

The most striking facets of this album are the darker moments that appear. Beneath all the sparkling pianos and groovy bassline in Room 27, for example, Rejjie opens up about his suicidal thoughts and flirts with the idea of joining the infamous 27 Club – the list of musical greats who died at the age of 27. This is the artistic highlight of the project: it is a perfect contrast between Lewis Ofman’s bright and encapsulating production and Rejjie’s thought provoking lyrics and his most enthusiastic delivery on the album. It insinuates that deeply concerning and serious thoughts in a person are overshadowed by glamourised and pointless popular figures in society. The Rain is a statement of love and passion towards ‘Annie’, giving a nod towards modern jazz’s flag bearer King Krule and the dark tones of Tyler, the Creator. At the end of the album, ‘Annie’ gives the listener a look into what Rejjie has lost and what he craves to get back.

Rejjie takes a major risk on this album – exposing himself emotionally on his debut may burn him out creatively a bit too early on in his career. Despite this, the Irishman’s debut album shows a significant understanding of contrast and keeping his theme grounded. Although the tracklist is sizable, the project flows well and his delivery pairs perfectly with his deep outlook and analysis of love, depression, and insecurity. Dear Annie discusses sensitive and delicate issues but Rejjie stays true to his artistic integrity which is a vital quality for those few who ‘change the game’. This project is a decent benchmark for Snow in his career and if he can exceed the expectations set from Dear Annie, there are big things coming for the Irish rapper.

rating 8

EP Review: Belle and Sebastian – How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 2)

by Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)rating 7

In their younger days, Belle & Sebastian were famously recluse and shrouded in mystery, developing almost to the point of a cult of personality. Interaction with the press was a rarity and their lyrics – sharp-witted, erudite and often self-depreciating – proved even more complex than the persona they propagated (intentionally or not). In the clutches of middle age, however, they’ve been undergoing something of a change in approach. In many ways they’re now more accessible than ever; whether this is a reaction to or a consequence of the changing landscape of music consumption remains unclear.

To Stuart Murdoch et al., the EP is an artform in its own right. Instead of stuffing such releases with studio outtakes and B-sides, they devote the same amount of love and attention as they would to a full-length album. Following in the footsteps of their late ’90s EP bonanza (Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane, and 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light), B&S have committed to another trio of releases under the banner How to Solve Our Human Problems.

As they move onto the second installment of the trilogy, the purpose of this format is ostensibly to divide the tracks into three distinct acts or chapters in order to deliver a certain impact on each outing. On this occasion, their nonchalant demeanor seems to be a coping mechanism for the relentless negativity of the world we live in. Instead of fighting fire with fire, they’ve taken a conciliatory approach. “So let’s consider not being angry”, suggests Murdoch.

Tracks like Show Me The Sun embody this free-spirited attitude, a sort of reckless abandon which is a rarity in the B&S canon. It doesn’t indulge in any unnecessary navel-gazing; instead, it comes flying out the traps with a chorus of ‘na na nas’ before descending into cheery question-and-answer vocals and psychedelic guitars. Cornflakes, too, is nothing short of a riot – crashing cymbals and spacey synths.

The EP’s live and let live philosophy has undoubtedly been a consequence, at least in part, of parenthood. On lead single I’ll Be Your Pilot, Murdoch speaks with an unmistakable paternal tone as he implores his young boy Denny to enjoy his adolescent days while he can. “It’s tough to become a grown-up / Put it off while you can“, he urges. The dialogue plays out like a reassuring chat between father and son; a promise to look out for him, keep him safe. The sentiment is warm and loving, although there is a sense of foreboding when he alludes to the treacherous state of the world, “I tell you that when / You land in the world / It’s like quicksand“.

Part 2 constitutes a solid step forward in the How to Solve Our Human Problems trilogy and, as it happens, represents one of their strongest records in recent times. Despite the lack of characteristic catchy hooks abundant in their earlier material, all five tracks are charming and memorable in their own right. There’s no mistaking their ability to change with the times, though. 22 years on since the release of their debut Tigermilk, they show no signs of running out of ideas yet.

Album Review: Golem Who Goes Fish – No Conscious Apparitions

by Ewan Blacklaw (@EwanBlacklaw)rating 7

Released in early December 2017, No Conscious Apparitions is the latest project from underground lo-fi indie rock outfit Golem Who Goes Fish, formerly known as Sontuk. This time Phil Castro, the mind behind Golem Who Goes Fish, creates a dreamy lo-fi sound layered beneath vocals reminiscent of Elvis Costello. Although this nasally voice makes the album stand out from other lo-fi projects, it may also put listeners off some of the catchy indie tracks on this album.

The lo-fi production sound of the album is achieved by using a 4-track, which is a popular method of recording in the lo-fi music scene. The reason that this technique is favoured is due to the ability to mix each individual component of the song together in a very natural way. No Conscious Apparitions is a prime example of this, with a majority of songs featuring a catchy combination of drums, synth, guitar and keys backing the signature vocals. This amalgamation makes for some very catchy songs such as one of the standout moments on the project, Alice Hieroglyphics Alice, which sounds as though it is could be a hidden gem from the peak of 70s rock.

Although the album does get off to a great start with memorable opening tracks, there is a lull during the midway section of the album. This could be due to the short tracks featuring nasally vocals and similar sounding instrumentals merging into one uniform sound. This lull is, however, broken with Simple Sugars (Do The Trick) which brings a new dynamic to the album, introducing a synth sound that sounds as if it has been pulled straight from the soundtrack of Hotline Miami or Drive. From this point onwards the album picks up again, mixing in different influences and sounds from various genres. One noticeable example of this is Malic Alice, which is the most intense track on the album, releasing a previously unheard garage rock sound that really stands out from other the other tracks of No Conscious Apparitions. Mixed in amongst the album’s catchy lo-fi indie rock feel are these occasional appearances of subtle instrumentals that serve as a moment of reflection, as well as a break from the whining vocals of Phil Castro.

One other factor of the album are the surrealist lyrics laced throughout the album, which seem to bring in a lot of original ideas. The lyrics seem to be distant and dreamy to match the backing instrumentals, as well as the overall tone of the record. Although the album does hit a bit of a slow patch, it is an overall solid project, standing out from other recent lo-fi releases with the unique lyrics and vocals which bring some new ideas to the indie rock genre. As well as seeming to move in a different way within the genre, No Conscious Apparitions is also a standout amongst previous releases from Golem Who Goes Fish, showing the growth in the personal sound of the project. The newest album ranks as the best of his three releases so far and hopefully he can continue to release good music well into 2018.

 

Track Review: Motion – Of The Night

By Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

Scotland has something of a pedigree when it comes to post-punk. Two prominent indie labels, Fast Product in the capital and Glasgow’s Postcard Records, formed during the peak years of the movement spanning the late 70’s/early 80’s, not to mention a wealth of acts including Simple Minds and Cocteau Twins. It comes as no surprise, then, that some of the most compelling artists to emerge from the country in recent years happen to fall under that very same banner.

Enter Motion. The Edinburgh-based psych rock outfit proudly wear their influences on their sleeves, bonding over a shared love of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Stone Roses. Make no mistake though, they’re out to forge their own legacy. Last year’s Motion EP relied rather heavily on the shoegaze template but it demonstrated plenty of promise and featured some solid tracks, particularly Everything – a marriage between Kitchens of Distinction’s wall of sound and the ominous basslines of Peter Hook.

Their latest single Of The Night isn’t a radical departure from the EP; instead, it’s a subtle evolution, one which begins to take them in a new direction. They’ve cleaned up the production, scaled down the reverb and in the process managed to set themselves down the path towards establishing their own sound. The vocal delivery is reserved, perhaps borderline deadpan, yet the guitar is summery and infectiously upbeat, meshing together to create a satisfying contrast of textures.

All three musicians are adept at laying down the foundations of a track, this much has been apparent since last year’s material – engaging melodies and tight drumming. Of The Night signals their first conspicuous effort to go further and introduce more diversity, more developments in between choruses. It always helps to have a killer riff to bounce off, though, and Band’s is truly an earworm; it’s safe to say it will hang around in your memory for a good while. One point worth mentioning is that, although not necessarily a negative, the lyrics are relatively straightforward. With time, though, their songwriting will surely continue to develop and greater expression will follow suit.