Thursday, 23 March 2017

REVIEW: Greenhorn / Urchin - "Greenhorn / Urchin" (Split)

By: Stephen Murray

Album Type: Split
Date Released: 10/03/2017
Label: Independent

“Greenhorn/Urchin” DD//LP Track listing:

1. Greenhorn – “The Narrator”
2. Urchin – “Meteor Blade”

The Review:

What is it with the sea and some of doom’s more sombre bands? The rich nautical repertoire of songs about the hauntings of dead sailors, ghost ships and ungainly, ill-omened seabirds notwithstanding, the Big Water has proved an irresistible draw for many bands. Indeed, there appears to be three themes prevalent in doom right now: the sea, the occult and H.P. Lovecraft, and the greatest of these is Lovecraft (go on, argue for the occult; I’m listening).

Written over three months and recorded live in a few hours, albeit with two different vocal sessions, Greenhorn’s “The Narrator” evokes the sea through a petroleum-jelly-soft Lovecraftian lens. Not to say this track lacks throat, rather that it balances gnarled guitar tones that roil and gurgle with the allure and seduction of ethereal Siren calls rendered in beautiful-if-creepy sung harmonies. The rich vintage glow swathed about both guitar and bass in the solos satisfies like muscovado sugar, bringing melody to the fore of the song’s nigh twenty minute span.

And this is why it is so well paired with Urchins “Meteor Blade.” We are back down to the forbidding water’s edge, but more than that, we have a vintage feel and a haunting, darkling melody carefully stitched onto something primal and untamed. The vintage here is different, however, calling back cassette tapes left to go brittle on a sunbleached dashboard and the hazy reverb of the 90s alternative scene. Indeed, halfway through the song a delicate, woozy melody leverages a fair slab of pathos before breaking out once again in wails of agony.

Altogether a well-matched release allowing both acts to shine their own eerie lights, and with plenty of aggro, but with the emotional variation and nostalgic tones selling it.

“Greenhorn/Urchin” is available for download here (Greenhorn) and here (Urchin)