Saturday, 4 October 2014

Far Pacific / Control Zed / Jake Fletcher / The Raging Sickness / ako - Demo Reviews - NARC Magazine, November Edition

[2014.10.04] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.

I Know starts with a gleaming high-pitched electric guitar line, and when the band joins in with a swaggering funky-beat, complete with a raspy trombone, a cheeky positivity shakes the airwaves. Enter the vocals and a confirmation of Far Pacific’s mid-90’s Indie roots. The lyrics are delivered in the style’s typical nonchalance, making broad confessions with arbitrary rhymes until the choruses come around and the song title is repeated as a refrain; each repetition taking us to a new level of boredom. The production is strong and the choice of tones sit supportively with one another, but such quality in this area acts only as a cherry on a very plain sponge.

Four repetitions of a gently disarming 7/8 drum beat welcome our ears to Control Zed’s ’Stop and Rewind,’ before the pattern is gently fleshed out with an arpeggio acoustic guitar riff and a root-note bass-line. The vocals are tightly accompanied with choice harmonies. Melisma is employed casually in the melody of the verses, and with it being closely paralleled with a backing harmony, this gives Stop And Rewind a memorable personality. A xylophone interjects in the breaks falling just the right distance from twee. A sinusoidal electric guitar part lifts the energy in the final portion of the song, before letting the primary riff cycle a few more times at dusk.

Terrace Row Defeat is a macabre ballad testifying for various proletariat archetypes and their problems in endlessly rainy times. Over strummed strings and a soaked skipping beat, Jake Fletcher observes the deadly routines of characters from Bennett’s Talking Heads, round his way. From his young eyes, he spots a danger, and warns ‘if you’re gonna get out, get out now.’ Such advice from an aspiring-to-tour troubadour maybe misjudged, but flying from the ark, he is more like the dove, and someone who wants the best for his community.

Perhaps when Metallica released Kill ‘Em All in 1983, songs with such an aggressive pro-destruction character could be seen as reflective of a certain paranoid position of American thought surrounding The Cold War, fearing what might be. The Raging Sickness’ remake of these sentiments feels flaccid and unsympathetic in a time where minute-to-minute violence is occurring and evidenced for general public viewing on the internet. Though I admire the ambition to create drama, the lack of originality, both lyrically and musically, undermines this song’s intended power; the parodies on display to the listener here evoke similar feelings that a parent might experience waiting whilst their toddler exhausts themselves through a tantrum.

ako’s ‘process/us’ displays a number of charming musical attitudes, and has melted its way to be the primary focus out of this month’s bag of tracks. This six-and-a-half minute instrumental has its roots in house music; driven by a wonderfully leathery pulsing kick-drum and low-pitch wet looping bass-line. Touching my instincts particularly are its minimalist heart and patience. Calmly out of the heartbeat emerges syncopated clicks, ricochets and soft keyboard intervals, until a wobbly sharp synth bursts the track open for the sunshine. The mix of melodic loops of different lengths, and a strong use of the major-third driving the bass, keeps process/us in perpetual motion. By the final act of the track, the listener is gliding high over a glorious terrain. Throughout, we hear replays of whispering voices. The montage intensifies, as if the satellite is zooming out, and witnessing the greater buzz of international traffic. This track takes city lights at night and puts them with dreams and feelings of possibility.

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