Jump For Neon ::: Put Me Down Dinosaur

A. Put Me Down Dinosaur

Jump For Neon bolted out of the gates in 2017 with a battle-worn, self-titled, debut album that was drenched in feedback, submerged in gnarly distortion and pock-marked to the core thanks to a deluge of psychedelic effects and sonic blasts. It sounded like someone threw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club down a stainless steel mineshaft – along with some ACNE TNT sticks for good measure – and recorded the results. And, hell, it was a damn fine record too. Full of sound, fury, funnies and fretwork.

Band-leader and chief songwriter William Gray has apparently thrown his bag of distortion pedals out the window for the band’s Difficult-Second-Album (along with his wardrobe of beer-stained plaid-shirts and leather whips, I imagine), but his way with a melody and his uncanny ability to create a unique listening experience is, I’m happy to report, still firmly in his bloody-minded grasp.

Put Me Down Dinosaur (nice title) is as hard-hitting as its predecessor but in a completely different way; while Jump For Neon bludgeons you to death with a crudely modified 4×4, Put Me Down Dinosaur sends you packing with a dead-eyed smile and a whisper. Indeed, if I may expand on the torture analogy, JFN is the guillotine to PMDD’s water-board; both methods get the job done, but opt for opposing methods.

More polished, restrained and mature than JFN, PMDD opens with “Somewhere Else”, a song that hangs snugly around a Kurt Vile-esque chord progression before a Grandaddy-style swoosh opens the door for Gray’s insistence that it’s “time to go somewhere else”. Based in China, one wonders whilst listening if expat life is starting to tick Gray off a tad – or maybe he’s just itching to go on a nice, long holiday. Either way, the discontentment you can feel in the vocal delivery and in the song’s lyrics continues throughout much of the album. The ominous and claustrophobic sounding “All We Really Have Is The Night” hinges on a cyclical chord swirl and an eerie keyboard line that reinforces the lyrics’ sense of futility and frustration. “I don’t care about wrong and right, that’s so last century, what’s it gonna do for me?” questions  a disillusioned Gray. Like a dream, the song dissolves into a vacuum of digital echo when you try and give it a second look.



In the epic “Baggage”, Gray gives perhaps his best vocal performance to date, slipping into falsetto effortlessly and doubling his emotional lead vocal with a tight and beautiful harmony. The music is kept simple and steady whilst Gray’s vocal soars above the simple acoustic guitar and bass backing. Adding to the sense of drama are the subtle electronics that fizz and crackle in the background, adding colour to the piece without ever taking over and crashing the (anti)party. In fact, this subtlety is a cornerstone of the whole album – as are Gray’s excellent, and at times, striking original vocals.

In the woozy, Basement Tapes-y “Miss America” JFN takes pot-shots at the US of A, in typically droll fashion, before settling into a sequence of vocal lines that make Gray sound like Thom Yorke played 40 bpms slower than ever intended (in a good way). Similarly stripped-back is “Rabbit Hole” a song that underlines the album’s themes of isolation, doubt and insecurity. “I wear this suit of armour daily but yet I feel like I have nothing on” croons Gray, as an electronic beat and more fleeting atmospherics power the song to the bottom of the proverbial rabbit hole and its falsetto-laced conclusion.

Shades of Springsteen and Brandon Flowers on beta-blockers spring to mind (pun intended) on “Solace”, a track submerged by thick clouds of paranoid vapour, fake news, rumour, environmental concerns and mistrust in religion. Gray is all at sea amidst the madness, searching in vain for some sweet solace; “I don’t even want to feel, I’m afraid that if it cuts me I won’t heal” Gray opines. The track’s sparse backing once again puts Gray’s voice and lyrics front and centre, as does the gentle, and charmingly self-deprecating “Can’t Say No”. Listening to PMDD feels at times like you’re sitting opposite Gray as he reclines on a comfy leather chaise-lounge, spilling his guts and opening his heart – as you look on, mouth agape.

Some respite comes in the form of album closer “Suzie”, a lighter track that feels like an exercise in escapism as medicine. Built around a fuzzy drum loop (as many of the tracks on this LP are) the song’s coda is all flanger and flying falsettos, but try as it might to break through the funk that came before – and to jump for that ever-glowing, distant neon – the overall impression one gets from PMDD is one of emotional vulnerability, musical simplicity and gut-wrenching lyrical honesty. In the final analysis, If JFN was a guitar-player’s album, then this is an album for singers, as Gray puts his vocals high in the mix and bares his soul for all to hear.

5. PMDD

‘Put Me Down Dinosaur’ is out now on Medic Independent Records.

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Quaker Parents ::: Tact of Animals (10x)

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We get sent a lot of messages. It’s not surprising. There’s a lot of musicians out there and, naturally, they want promo. There’s far too much coming in for us to be able to check every message thoroughly, let alone listen to all the music/watch all the videos people are sending us. If you’re not featured please don’t take it personally.

SO MANY great artists never get covered by us. It’s a bummer but it’s just too hard for most bloggers to be able to get through everything. And most bloggers will already have a notion of what they’re wanting to cover anyway because, like all avid music listeners, we too are on our own little audio journey.

Don’t be disheartened. Making music is an end in itself.

Everything else is a bonus.

Keep going!

We will dip into our Twitter or email inbox at random points in time just out of curiosity to see if anything immediately connects with us. This really did and so we’re veritably buzzing to premiere it.


Quaker Parents are a band based in Toronto. Beginning life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this project, started by Mark Grundy, has been fortified by the rhythmic contributions of Mark’s brother J. Scott Grundy, as well as often featuring one or two pals in addition.

Immediately notable is this bunch are big on melody in an alt-folk kind of a way. But, more than this, you’ll be impressed by the lyrics which elegantly twist and wind their way around the arrangement.

Below you’ll be getting your first look at a video which utilizes film taken on Quaker Parents’ first national tour proper, which took place back in 2012. It’s simple and its quirky and it perfectly suits the track.

Mark describes this song as, ‘a kind of meditation on the shifting relationship between instinct and the many variables that plague and/or augment modern life – seeking simplicity in its complication while over complicating its simplicity.’ You won’t find us arguing. Check it out for yourselves.

Keep up with Quaker Parents on Twitter and this website.

You can also check out their Bandcamp here.

Photo by Alyson Hardwick.

Little Wizard ::: Block

So, there’s been a change of season and the days are getting cooler and blah blah blah blah blah. Well, I don’t know about you (I’m not the NSA) but when it gets to this time of year I start feeling a bit sluggish and like I want to hibernate. Then winter comes and I REALLY want to hibernate.

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Anyway, if you want to blow those autumn cobwebs away then Little Wizard could be just the tonic. Straight outta Shaoxing, a city known more for its wine than for its instrumental rock or post-rock scene, this is a three-piece that could hold their own in any rock and roll metropolis.

The chaos of the opening track, the rather inappropriately titled ‘The End’, on Little Wizard’s recently released ‘Block’ EP might seem to imply something ragged and grunge-like is about to follow. But what actually occurs, in the form of ‘Grey’, might more accurately be deemed math-rock, be it with a catchy bass hook that lends a certain poppy twist and underpins a big sounding guitar chord which pans left and right.

There’s an overall proficiency and slickness to these tracks but at the same time this doesn’t occur with the loss of an enticing live feel. This EP was recorded at Gebi Live House in Yiwu and perhaps that at least partly explains the raw, almost like you’re at a gig vibe.


This is a lean, mean fighting machine of an EP which will leave you wanting more. We dig it. If you’re China-based, go and catch Little Wizard live and you’ll be in for a treat.

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Interested in knowing more?

Able to read or decipher Chinese?

Find up to date info about Little Wizard here.

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Quarterly Release Roundup 3 ::: 2018

Can’t believe we’re reviewing the third quarter already. Time’s been running away from us again which is probably why this piece is arriving over a week later than I hoped it would. SORRY.

Oh FFS Ty Segall has been involved in yet another album (‘Joy’ with White Fence). And, guess what? Yeah. It’s really good. Not exactly immediately accessible good but all the better for it. It still has that Segall bite but his eccentricities are heightened and accentuated with the involvement of Tim Presley, to your veritable psychedelic bedazzlement. AWESOME.



Animal Collective’s ‘Tangerine Reef’ didn’t exactly result in an overwhelming amount of critical acclaim but it’s going in the quarterly review for ambition and cause alone. Anything that shines a light on the natural world we’re increasingly killing off is important in our book. Watch here:

Death Cab for Cutie kind of feel like older statesmen of rock/pop these days but I’ll stop short of calling them elder. They’re always reliable when it comes to churning out appealing ditties and if ‘reliable’ makes them sound boring that wasn’t our intention. This new record ‘Thank You for Today’ is well worth checking out.



I never got into Interpol when they first emerged. I’m not really sure why. I’ve heard the name enough over the years but they’re just one of those groups I never got round to listening to until recently. I listened to The Strokes a lot back then but for some reason ignored this band. The new record ‘Marauder’ shows that might have been a mistake. It’s interesting comparing it to the arguably more refined present day output of The National, a group who, if I’m not mistaken, were partly inspired by Interpol when they were first starting out. I love The National’s current sound but there’s also something equally appealing about the slightly more ramshackle way Interpol present their songs. It still sounds very turn of the century, when music, from New York to London, was often a little more rough around the edges than it is today. The feeling the wheels might come off at any second is actually what’s so exciting about rock’n’roll when you’re in the moment and perhaps we’ve lost that somewhat in this age of precise production when every instrument is so neatly placed within a mix. Sometimes it’s enjoyable to hear everything bleeding into everything else no?

I’m guessing there’ll be bewilderment if I don’t mention the new Idles record ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’. And rightly so. I’m a little late to the Idles party but not so late I don’t recognize this is probably one of the best bands of the now. It’s dark and it’s menacing but manages to do it with a knowing smirk.



Both Paul McCartney and Paul Simon have new music out but as much as I love both of these Pauls I’m not going to link you to them because I feel they’ve gotten enough press over the years. I’m sure you can Google them. For the same reason I’m not going to write about Eminem.

I will write about Beak> however. A band I’ve been meaning to devote more time to for quite a while now. This latest album seems the perfect moment to do just that. It’s a beauty.



Blood Orange’s ‘Negro Swan’. I’m not loving it quite as much as the previous release but it’s still not to be ignored. A brilliant artist and producer serving up another completely unique album.



One of the records I’ve most enjoyed from the last quarter is ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ from Dirty Projectors. Their music is always a somewhat jagged and chaotic listen for me and I don’t always completely warm to it but I’ve really dug this record. Give it the once over.



Of course, we’ve also covered Wang Wen, Junks and Menace Beach on the blog over the last quarter. DO check out those releases too as they’re firm faves.

Over and out.

Wang Wen (惘闻乐队) ::: The Best Band in the World?

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It’s easy as arrogant Westerners to feel our cultures play the dominant role in the story of modern music and will do forever more. A recent piece in The Guardian made interesting points regarding ‘Best Albums’ lists. Remember those? I generally love the music on such lists and grew up on it. But these lists were made by the tastemakers of the day. Mainstream record companies sent their products to mainstream media outlets and garnered positive press. Sometimes corporations even owned both the record label and the music publication. The tastemakers were generally white and male, and from the US or the UK. Surprise, surprise, many of the artists on those lists were also white, male and from the US and the UK. I don’t want to be overly critical of this arrangement. As stated before, great music came as a result of this and whilst many of the journalists and musicians came from more privileged backgrounds than the majority of people on the planet (yes I know plenty were working class but that means something different in a developed country than to be poor in a developing one), they still often worked very hard, wrote well and deserved the opportunity to carve something out for themselves in a field they were genuinely passionate about. But fast forward to the now and we’re at a point where these lists, which music fans invested so much in during that time, seem increasingly redundant or by the by.

First of all the explosions of specific categories of music resulted in genre defining bands and albums or at least that’s how it was marketed. Much of what we heard from there on in, tended to be modeled on that. Sure, some artists will put an interesting spin on their mode of expression or maybe even establish a subgenre but you can’t help but feel sometimes like everything has already been done and heard. Secondly, technology has leveled the playing field. You don’t need a mainstream label to make a record anymore. You don’t even need a traditional recording studio. Suddenly even your Uncle Barry is making an album in his bedroom. We have a situation where many, many musicians are making very credible sounding records. It’s hard sometimes to differentiate between what is qualitatively better. Can we really just accept that something is the best of the best just because a major label or renowned publication is pushing it? Or because it’s on a Spotify playlist? Of course not. Finally, globalization and the rapid development of more and more countries’ music industries has led to many more participants in the sphere of new music. At the same time, more and more people are traveling these days or spending time living abroad. This also opens us up to a broader range of possibilities. And if we’re not lucky enough to travel extensively then the Internet can fill that gap. The 100 best albums in the world? How about the 100 best albums this month? How about the 100 best albums this month in Zhejiang?

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OK. Perhaps Zhejiang isn’t quite there just yet. This month anyway. But don’t be dismissive because look out music nerds, China is coming. This is a country that has an extensive high speed rail network connecting millions of people in different cities to different music scenes. So this isn’t simply a culture of just loading your gear into the back of an old van and touring the local toilet circuit until it conks out. That’s not to be disparaging about a music culture I very much know and love, it’s just a simple case of compare and contrast. Chinese music venues can be very well equipped. Just bring your instrument and your pedals for example and the venue will often have the rest of what you need. Including the latest state of the art sound equipment and a younger crop of sound engineers coming up that know exactly how to use it. All this of course would be useless without brilliant bands and interested audiences. A sold out Mao Livehouse in Hangzhou last Sunday evening for Wang Wen (惘闻) would imply such bands have long existed and the interest is very much there. The only worry in China, and it is a big worry, is exciting artistic developments are continually being hampered by the dictates of a market sanitizing and dumbing down for the sake of a quick buck, not to mention other overarching forces that may hold freedom of expression in check.

Going just by the ‘Best Albums’ lists I was weaned on growing up I can hear a lot of strands in Wang Wen’s music. Pink Floyd for example. I don’t know if this stems from the group listening to Pink Floyd or from listening to bands that listened to Pink Floyd. Perhaps they are just in vaguely the same kind of creative and introspective mind-space and it comes naturally to them to wish to plough, very roughly, this kind of territory, for want of a better description. It doesn’t really matter. These reference points immediately allow me to connect with their output. To join the dots. At least I can thank my ‘Best Album’ lists for that right? From prog-rock to post-rock encompasses a LOT of music of course, and it’s not my desire simply to list bands. However, it’s difficult to discuss Wang Wen without mentioning Sigur Rós. First of all you’ll draw comparisons because of the genre. Delve just a little deeper and you’ll discover that Wang Wen recorded their latest album ‘Invisible City’ at Sundlaugin in Reykjavík, in Iceland, an old 1930s swimming pool Sigur Rós transformed into a studio.



Wang Wen are originally from Dalian, an important city and port in Liaoning Province, a point of access very much exploited in the past by foreign powers. Despite being declared China’s most livable city in 2006 by China Daily, the music of Wang Wen, apparently informed very much by the environment that has shaped them, would imply the reality of living in Dalian is a lot more challenging and complex. With a career spanning two decades, the band’s music has taken them on a physical journey as expansive as their output, including working with German label Pelagic Records and doing gigs across Europe, to name just a sprinkling of the shows they’ve played.

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Wang Wen’s music has seen the group cast as founding fathers of mainland China’s post-rock community but with such a rich back catalogue and impressive tour credentials would it not be more appropriate to now describe them simply as one of the best post-rock outfits in the world? They’ve certainly mixed in the right circles to lay claim to the crown, touring with Mogwai for example. Such a bold assertion might surprise you. You may have heard very little of Wang Wen. You may even enjoy post-rock as a genre yet still have heard very little of Wang Wen. The geopolitical reality of being a band from China can be cited as a reason for this. It is challenging to have global reach from within, until relatively recently, a traditionally closed off system, particularly one where authorities are at pains to ensure artists in the spotlight uphold, shall we say, a particular set of values. But let’s not lay the blame squarely on China here. The Western music consumer, if you’ll afford me this sweeping generalization, habitually sticks to their own and lazily files everything else away under the title of ‘World Music’. This very blog itself is guilty of massively skewed coverage. It’s just easier to stick with what you know right? Anyway, how could the best post-rock band in the world possibly be Chinese? Scratch that. How could the best band in the world possibly be Chinese? We invented rock right? Sure. Right after we stole the blues from African Americans.

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These assertions or questions are of course reductive. None of these points of view tell the whole story. It’s very difficult to tell the whole story with all its complexities. That’s why we gain so much from amazing music. It helps us feel our shared story together so, in that moment at least, there is no need to struggle to put forward our own individual version. Just as reductive then is to call one thing ‘best’. Let’s just celebrate the music we really like and try to tell other people about it. Let’s strive to be discerning and keep trying to seek out what is new and interesting to us rather than living in blind acceptance, satisfied in our comfort zones, dwelling in a vacuum. Let’s not crucify the authors of those ‘Best Albums’ lists either. They were a product of their time and still turned us on to wonderful music that changed our lives, just as this flimsy piece of writing is shaped by the shortcomings of the now but will hopefully direct you towards something that is rewarding nevertheless. To conclude, most importantly, listen to Wang Wen not because they are ‘the best’, whatever that means, but because this band makes fantastic music and that is, really, all you need to know. Sometimes, thankfully, bands like this do come along and make you feel, actually, that maybe you haven’t heard quite everything just yet.

 

Photos by Panda.

‘Invisible City’ by Wang Wen (惘闻) is out on September 28 on Pelagic Records.

Pre-order here.

Junks ::: EP Review

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Playing music live and committing something to record are two entirely different things. Now I’ve got stating the obvious out of the way please bear with me. Junks, a permanent fixture on Hangzhou’s live music scene over the last few years, playing all over China and even in Europe, have only now put out their first official release. WHY?!!!! I refer you back to my first sentence.

Anyone that has witnessed Junks live knows this is not four slackers who just rock up to the venue in whatever they fell out of bed in. Unless they sleep in laser firing shoulder pads which I can’t imagine would be very comfortable. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve nothing against people just taking to the stage with little regard for how they look even though that can be contrived in itself of course. I think it was Neil Young who stated, with obvious reverence for a particular era, there was a time during his heyday where the quality of the music eclipsed the performer’s appearance. I can dig that. Check out the ‘The Last Waltz’. Some of the performers don’t exactly look slick. And where’s the strobe lighting? Doesn’t matter. The music’s so brilliant you’re not thinking about them being a scruffy bunch of hippies.

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However, music is a broad church and there is a massive place for stagecraft and putting on a show. It’s damn important. And the world would be a lot less colorful without it. You can tell when you see Junks live that David Kay and co are trying to put across a particular vision. An aesthetic Kay thinks a lot about and matters to him a great deal. Nevertheless when an act plays live there must be a certain amount of letting go for it to be a successful gig. The singer can’t quite hear the guitar as much as they’d ideally like? Forgeddaboutit. Head down. Put everything into the performance. Soundcheck has been and gone and, besides, the sound might be perfect front of house anyway so why nitpick, especially when everyone is having such a great time? Sure if something regarding the overall sound is REALLY wrong then it needs fixing but a live show is also more about being in the moment. When it’s over, it’s over. Who in the audience is really going to remember if the snare could have been ever so slightly higher in the mix? A memory of a gig is so much more than that. It’s a communal experience. It’s the sharing of, hopefully, a beautiful but fleeting moment between artist and audience.



With a record however if something is wrong it’s going to be preserved that way FOREVER, the recent tendencies of artists such as Kanye West to revise music that has already been released notwithstanding. Seriously, I’m probably going to sound old here but what is up with that? Finish the album before you release it dude. Draw a line under it and move on you utter control freak. If there are glaring errors then do your job properly in the first place. I’m looking at you Astroworld. Oh so I’ve bought your album and/or downloaded it and now I have to get another copy because you’ve decided actually it’s not done yet? TOO LATE. I’m not re-downloading it you egomaniac. But you can just stream the updated version I hear you cry. I live in China nitwit. I can’t just presume I’ll be able to stream ANYTHING. And also I’m one of those strange people who thinks someone brave enough to stand up and make an artistic statement has created something valuable enough for me to want to enjoy it without the continual threat of a fricking buffering symbol hanging over my head. I know. I’m just weird like that. My music being interrupted by a rubbish Internet connection raises my blood pressure. Technology gives but it also takes away.

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Stay with me. This is going somewhere. So. Back to Junks. All this time we’ve been waiting and all they give us is a six track EP? Well anyone who has seen the live show will immediately be aware of how much work goes into what they do and how it comes across. It’s no surprise to me therefore that the EP took this long to finish. And it’s worth the wait believe me. Whilst much is made of the 80s vibe with this group, let’s face it, as important and influential as many developments in the 80s were and still are, modern production, in the hands of people that know what they are doing, sounds amazing. Junks are such people. Mixed and mastered by David Kay and Onichan from the group, these tracks sound really crisp and clear. So you’ve got the best of both worlds here. If you like 80s inspired music it ticks that box but with a not insignificant modern reboot.



Yes, yes, yes you say but what about the songs? Well David Kay wouldn’t have scored a deal with Parlophone during his time with Tiny Dancers if he didn’t have some serious songwriting chops would he? It is not a talent that has deserted him. This is a man who knows instinctively how to reel you in with a melody. Underneath the shiny veneer of ‘Everybody’s Movin’ we have a track that’s actually quite thoughtful and reflective be it framed with a jaunty rhythm. This is a song that will do enough to catch your attention but also leaves plenty of scope with which to take the music up a notch.

‘Tellin Stories’ has a distinctive dual vocal cutting through that blends perfectly with the bouncing synth lines and electronic drum sounds. It keeps the momentum going for what comes next in the form of ‘Kinda Heavy’. Now, this is a real live favorite so I was a little bit worried about how it might come across on record as sometimes it can be a disappointment when a release doesn’t capture the enjoyment of the live experience. There was no need for concern it transpires. Somehow it retains the vibrancy of a gig and really gets the pulse racing. It takes a lot to get me moving on my steady diet of ever increasing sleep deprivation but this song can even get me feeling like I might just move out of my seat. At some stage. To get more coffee.

After the pace of the preceding song, something of a slight lull is welcome with ‘Mirror Mirror’. This is one I don’t think I’ve heard much before so possibly it is a relatively new addition. It has a more straightforward feel in terms of the groove, with a darker undercurrent which then gives way to a lighter and really catchy vocal hook you can imagine festival crowds singing along with. ‘Stop believing in things that aren’t real’ is the opening line of the spoken word segment by Ursula Kay towards the end of the track. A universal message if ever there was one given the times we’re living through.



Back to another popular live track with ‘Rich Girls’. It’s interesting to be able to hear more detail. Particularly the lower pitched vocal. This is the advantage of having something on record and listening on headphones. Nothing is lost. This song arguably sums up what springs to mind when you think of Junks. Infectious synth parts. Check. A hook that gnaws its way into your brain. Check. Ursula rapping. Check. What’s not to enjoy?

‘Nuclear Holiday’ proves the perfect conclusion. Following an ominous vocal sample opening we have more great pop melodies heightened in their effect through the use of doubled up vocals and a synth line that carries everything along on the back of a big sounding snare. This rounds off an addictive debut EP that will hopefully help bring Junks to a wider global audience, something they deserve as they’ve shown on numerous occasions they can cut it on big stages. My only criticism is I’d have liked ‘Slipstream’ on there. That aside, if the apocalypse is nigh then let’s hope it’s this much fun.

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‘Junks’ is out now on Modern Sky.

It’s available in Internet world on platforms such as Bandcamp (our favorite) but will release officially in China on September 28.  

Black Rainbow Sound ::: Album Review

Having written positively about Menace Beach’s previous two LPs we were both excited and a little apprehensive concerning the new release. Excited, obviously, because it’s a new record. Apprehensive because we’d heard a change in direction meant their sound had shifted and we’d have been disappointed if this had led to a dip in quality. However, although things have gotten more synth-orientated, we’d assert ‘Black Rainbow Sound’ still retains the fuzziness and wonkiness that has always made the band’s output so appealing.

It’s been implied there’s been a certain amount of debate within Menace Beach regarding the precedence given to individual instruments but the final product sounds very much like a group united and reveling in a fresh new approach. Perhaps more relevant than what’s higher or lower in the mix though is the overall process. This is an album born out of willful experimentation rather than going into the studio with fully-formed ideas. This can be a big gamble for bands as it can result in something messy or ill-thought-out. This is not the case here.

To posit the group sound revitalized would imply they were in need of revitalizing in the first place. Given the brilliance of what they’ve created to date that would be a faulty premise. But Menace Beach do sound like they’re benefiting from changing their habits. This is an album that sparkles and has to be counted as a step up regarding their overall catalog, given how difficult it is to build on such deservedly well-received music. Whilst the band must be applauded for going with their instincts, Matt Peel of Eagulls also deserves a special mention because the production is impressive.

Including former Fall member Brix Smith in proceedings undoubtedly contributes something special. But to call these standout moments would do a disservice to the rest of a beautifully complete work. Take ‘8000 Molecules’. Here the synth and drum machine combo proves a delight, melding to great effect with Liza Violet’s ethereal vocals. The harder hitting ‘Crawl In Love’ will understandably get a lot of mentions whilst ‘Watermelon’ quickly transitions into one hell of a fuzzed out groove which should go down equally well at gigs.



When the dust has settled regarding the basic sonic changes, perspective should reveal that, whilst Menace Beach may have mutated slightly, their essential appeal remains consistent. This is an outfit that can’t help but make massively enjoyable scuzzed up psychedelic garage rock/pop music. If altering the process and adjusting the balance helps the band retain and build on such overall vibrancy then how could anyone disagree?

 

‘Black Rainbow Sound’ is out now on Memphis Industries.