It is always an impressive feat when a record creates a distinct atmosphere for listeners to lose themselves in; but when that single is a debut release, it’s twice the achievement. Enter Private Mountain.
The Melbourne four-piece’s first offering shimmers with Gen-X sonics, topped with a delightfully disaffected vocal in a spaced-out and dreamy take on grunge. The distorted power chords are replaced with chiming guitar bursts, and the vocal increasingly disappears behind its own reverberated harmonies come chorus-time. All this over an almost trip-hop bass and beat combo, which momentarily stops and starts as if to drag the listener along with them on a decidedly unhurried journey. The coda’s devolution into pure shoegaze sees the band adding further retro flavours. A sublime listen, in the most hypnotic sense of the word.
Singer-songwriter Joell Jordi has a go at mixing up the formula of textbook indie jangle-pop with some lo-fi energy on ‘COMPROMISE’, a single arriving next month.
The Manchester singer has employed some really nice sonics here, with his guitar-led shuffle interwoven with wavy synth stings and some psychedelic guitar FX. There is clearly a unique configuration of influences and ideas bubbling up under the surface here; the makings of a distinct sound are there and Jordi seems to be on the way to distilling those elements.
Perhaps the sole critique of ‘COMPROMISE’ is that it doesn’t quite distinguish itself enough to linger in the mind of the listener. This is only really a criticism because the track comes so close; it is indisputably a really pleasant tune that ticks all the boxes it sets out to, but is short of that final je ne sais quoi it needs to really make its presence felt.
Torquay’s Pylon Poets are firing on all cylinders with ‘Reverie’, the lead single from their latest EP, ‘Lucid Hallucinations’. This track is impressively big; it carries the feel of youthful metal energy, growing into a delightfully advanced sound thanks to multi-layered synthesiser lines and some big riff energy.
Many bands claim that their greatest strength is in their particular mix of genres, but Pylon Poets let their sound do the talking. It isn’t quite perfect; the lyrics are fairly run-of-the-mill, and the vocal itself sits awkwardly atop the instrumental without the atmospheric flourishes that make the soundscape at large so potent. Nevertheless, this is a band whose stated aim is to push their own genre boundaries further with each release, and this track is a wonderful step in that direction. Simply put, this is a highly effective mix of straight-ahead alt rock and post-punk synth symphonics.
With all due respect to Britpop, new bands citing the 90s indie sound as an inspiration can sometimes provoke a snap judgment. Has it all been done vis a vis the ‘Manchester Sound’? Sometimes it feels that way – but not with this tune.
Shallow Waters have served up a psyched-out and fully fresh take on the Northern indie hallmarks with latest single ‘The God You Know You Are’, in which stomping beats and a Manc snarl swirl around menacingly echoing guitars and some seriously beefy guitar hooks. The three-piece carry the concentrated power that all good rock trios should aspire to, and it comes with absolute powerhouse choruses and some doom-laden riffery that is more Soundgarden than Oasis. An intriguing mix of sounds and a thoroughly rewarding listen.
Is the West Yorkshire town of Bingley known for its hip-hop? That doesn’t matter to self-described fast-rapper Wilko Wilkes, whose main concern is avoiding a kicking on latest single ‘Stalked By A Stranger’.
This alt-hip-hop cut sees Wilkes taking comedic shots at the inanity of everyday life en-route to recounting the tale of a “creepy guy with a glint in his eye” following him through Leeds. In between fear for his life and excitement about the next big night out with the lads, Wilkes adeptly weaves a tapestry of mundane references with distinct crap-Northern-town trappings. The lyrics are undoubtedly funny – how often do you hear a rap track namedrop Peter André and Loose Women? – but the humour in Wilkes’s turn of phrase is not the sole selling point of the track. The beat, replete with catchy loops, bends itself the narrative and the rapper’s undoubtable skills make ‘Stalked By A Stranger’ a really entertaining listen even if you don’t pay a close listen to the lyrics; even though you definitely should.