Tuesday 17 December 2013

Narrow Lands - Popular Music That Will Live Forever

Popular Music That Will Live Forever cover art
Narrow Lands is a Sludge/Noise-Pop/Punk Band from Sydney, Australia
The members are: Alan, Andrew, Ivan, Lee
 I'm a firm believer that beauty can be found in dark, evil places and noise-rock quartet Narrow Lands, from Sydney, Australia are another band to confirm those beliefs. Their debut album Popular Music That Will Live Forever is, simply put, an exceptional example of an album that, on paper, may only give you reasons to dislike it when in reality it is more than worthy of your attention.

The opening track Triple J Drivetime Hit features slow, droning riffs, setting the scene for a slow crawl through crushing sludge and amplifier worship - before the second track Whores Rule, packed with pounding drums and meaty riffs, provides a sudden shift in pace and bass-heavy third track Usefulness, teases something more in the realm of sharp, rigid hardcore. 

What the album is, arguably more than anything, is chaotic. Frankly it's difficult to pigeon-hole and classify it, as it isn't necessarily bound by the limitations of typical genre compliance but rather seeks to exist on it's own. This album sounds like four guys with a passion for making music, and for making music loud, heavy and aggressive. A savage and peculiar offering of tumultuous noise-rock that, fittingly, sounds as though a fancy studio space was overlooked in favour of recording in someone's shed.

It sounds this way because that's exactly how this album was created, and it really is done to perfection. In fact it boasts such a strange sound that the very first thing that hit me upon first listen was a very unfamiliar and perplexing part of that sound, something I just could not isolate and identify. So, as with everything these days, I turned to the internet to seek the information I requested. This is what I found:

“We leaned a baritone guitar up against the (slightly detuned and old) piano, plugged the guitar through as many pedals as possible so that when you played the piano it reverberated through the guitar and made this big impressive rumbling sound".

All of a sudden everything made sense. All the bizarre pieces that go together to make this record now fell into place. The strange textures, the brash assault of ugly riffs and drums, the heavily distorted and sparingly-used vocals and the walls of feedback mixed with moments of real melody is a head-fuck, no doubt, but in an addictively alluring way.

Popular Music That Will Live Forever will continue to climb the list of personal albums of the year I'm sure. It may not be a pleasant record to listen to. In fact it is a difficult, sometimes challenging and demanding album that I imagine could easily become the soundtrack to some rather bad dreams. However it also happens to be creative and powerful music, all with a very charming DIY feel to it.

As I said, the simplest way to describe this album is that it is four guys, in a shed, playing rock music very, very loudly. Sometimes there is just no need to mess with that.

Written by Neil Ainger

Thanks to Narrow Lands for sending us a promo to review. Popular Music That Will Live Forever is available to buy on DD/Vinyl now from BandCamp.

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