ĠENN release new single “Catalyst”

Photo by Holly Whittaker

Brighton-based 4-piece ĠENN have released new single “Catalyst”, their first new music since releasing their Liminal EP earlier in the year. The new single also comes alongside a new live version of previously released “Feel”.

Acting as an anthem for political awareness, “Catalyst” sees the band combine classic punk motions with an undying groove. The repeated phrase of “Stay awake” displays the bands urgency for recognition. You can hear the full blown emotion in vocalist Leona Farrugia’s despairing vocals. A call to arms for change.

Speaking about the new single vocalist Leona Farrugia said:

“The word ‘revolution’ has often been used in more grand ways throughout collective history, but ‘Catalyst’ started as more of a personal rediscovery, realising that everyday is a ‘work in progress’ in order to wake up from the coma of tradition.”

“In previous years, I understood the importance of moving forwards, doing my best to cast off the shackles of the past. In this sense, the song acts as a way to remember that change starts from within.”

Listen to the new single below!

Parquet Courts announce new album ‘Sympathy For Life’

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Today, Parquet Courts announce their new album, Sympathy For Lifeout October 22nd on Rough Trade Records, and share the first single “Walking at a Downtown Pace.” Pre-order here. The new single also comes alongside an accompanying music video directed by acclaimed New York City street photographer Daniel Arnold.

Speaking about the album co-frontman Austin Brown said:

Wide Awake! was a record you could put on at a party. Sympathy For Life is influenced by the party itself.” Historically, some amazing rock records have been made from mingling in dance music culture – from Talking Heads to Screamadelica. Our goal was to bring that into our own music. Each of us, in our personal lives, has been going to more dance parties. Or rather, we were pre-pandemic, which is when this record was made.” 

“Most of the songs were created by taking long improvisations and moulding them through our own editing. The biggest asset we have as artists is the band. After 10 years together, our greatest instrument is each other. The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising.”

The band has also announced Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualisedwhich will be a livestream of 11 videos, encompassing the entire record, which will air two days before the album’s release on October 20th. The band enlisted the effort of 11 amazing visual artists from around the world to create a completely unique experience for fans who buy tickets to Feel Free – Sympathy For Life, Visualised. Purchase tickets here

Listen to the new single below!

Sympathy For Life Tracklisting

  1. Walking At A Downtown Pace
  2. Black Widow Spider
  3. Marathon of Anger
  4. Just Shadows
  5. Plant Life
  6. Application Apparatus
  7. Homo Sapien
  8. Sympathy For Life
  9. Zoom Out
  10. Trullo
  11. Pulcinella

Modern Woman release debut single “Offerings”, sign to End Of The Road Records

Photo by Alex Stephen Thurston

Modern Woman have today shared their debut single “Offerings” as well as announcing their signing to End Of The Road Records. The new label is established by the festival of the same name.

Modern Woman began life as the songwriting project of Sophie Harris, a literature graduate who started playing the songs solo at spoken word nights she ran. “I had a firm idea of the direction I wanted the project to go in, and I knew that couldn’t be achieved without a full band.” Harris says speaking of the band’s beginnings. “It was important to me to keep the tenderness and lyricism of folk music but blend this with heavier and weirder experimental elements.”

On their debut single the band twist and dance in-between various moments of fast-paced grinding punk riffs, fluttering vocal passages and wonky interludes. With vocals reminscent of the likes of Florence and The Machine, it’s easy to see why this band gained early praise from the likes of black midi and Squid.

Listen to the new single below!

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend Album Review

Dirty Hit – 2021

There is an unspoken “curse” placed on artists who win the Mercury Prize that their next outing never quite lives up to its award winning predecessor. What Visions Of A Life showcased was a band at an important moment. Diverging their sound into various territories and sounds of punk, dream-pop, shoegaze and alt-rock; moving anywhere and everywhere. On Blue Weekend the band distill these sounds into a fluid story of self-doubt, longing and emotional triumph.

Throughout the narrative of Blue Weekend the band extract various stories of social affairs like the night out on the raging “Smile” or the trip through Los Angeles on “Delicious Things”. Picked from different worlds and places, they all collide together with the underlying narrative with the desire for freedom and happiness. “Could I belong here? The vibes are kinda strong here / Ask me if I’m from here and I won’t say no” sings Ellie Roswell on “Delicious Things”. She may be dabbling in pills and inhabiting with a “bad man named Adam” but you can feel this great sense of liberation pouring out of every moment. From the swaying harmonies to the coastal drifting guitar lines, the sound of this song is as delightfully delectable as the title.

Speaking of shorelines, the album is bookended by “The Beach”, which acts as the albums cinematic opening and closed with “The Beach II”, a dream-pop ballad that touches on the small beauty of those summer moments spent enjoying the natural world with friends. Not only do these songs set the scene for the album but they help bring about this narrative of connection. Although this album was largely written before any notion of the last year happened, it remains even more potent that these songs should define the journey through the album in this way.

There’s a certain dynamic switch that the band tap into on this album, and it’s one they play on for most of the track-listing. On “Feeling Myself” they switch from sultry mellotron chords and a lounge like beat, to suddenly burst out into a wash of synth-wave balladry. It sweeps and crashes over you like a wave of emotional triumph. It’s not only a switch up within the song itself, but coming straight after the pop-punk driven “Play The Greatest Hits” you feel as though you’re coming down after the excitement of a night-out and feeling the solitary blues you get in the morning after.

The title of the album Blue Weekend, comes from both a literal sense of seeing a blue sky at the weekend. And the melancholia of knowing that your weekend, no matter what happens, is going to leave you feeling blue. This sense of complete and utter disparity from the rest of the world is where the band finds their greatest moments on this album. “The Last Man On Earth” truly is an anthem for the abandoned. “And when your friends are talking / You hardly hear a word/ You were the first person here/ And the last man on the Earth” exclaims Roswell as she pulls apart every last emotion you thought you could hide. It’s that juxtaposition of being somewhere whilst feeling a million miles away that the band capture perfectly through slow building pianos and Beatles-esque guitar passages.

For all the moments of subtle beauty, like the fluttering and gut-wrenching “No Hard Feelings”, there are equal moments of outright bravado and showmanship. Playing it large has always been a trope for Wolf Alice, look back at “You’re A Germ” from debut My Love Is Cool and you’ll find a young band exploding with unkempt energy, packaging everything into every moment. On “Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)” you’ll find a track that is almost overpacked to the brink of spilling out at the sides. This move into folk-balladry is awry with beauty in the vocal and guitar passages, but just feels that slight bit too over-produced. Layers of harmonies sweep over each other to become so angelic that it feels as though the rawness and spirited energy that Wolf Alice has been known for has died a studio induced death.

The curse of the Mercury Prize seems to have been lifted though thanks to the incantations that Wolf Alice distill on this album. It showcases a band that have defined and refined their sound to become their most substantial and free-flowing album to date. Heartbreak and headbangers ensured, this is one for those dark nights sat alone.

Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg Album Review

4AD – 2021

Sometimes the best things are those that take time to grow on you. This album is certainly an example of just that. When first listening to Dry Cleaning it’s easy to be put off by the minimalist instrumentation and lead singer Florence Shaw’s deadpan spoken word vocal delivery. It’s abrasive, harsh, very often weird, but then isn’t that all the key elements that a punk album needs? After a while of listening to Dry Cleaning you soon begin to realise that this is the work of a truly special collective force. Formed out of various post-punk bands in the London post-punk scene, Lewis Maynard, Tom Dowse and Nick Buxton joined forces as a collective after finding common ground at a karaoke party. Dowse later then bringing in university friend Shaw to add vocals. On their debut EP Sweet Princess, the sound incorporated elements of surf-rock, punk and occasional flairs of psychedelia. All whilst Shaw’s seemingly disjointed thought trails drove the songs into weird and wild corners of her psyche. Now returning with the first full length project, the band have defined their sound both sonically and lyrically.

The first thing you realise about this album is just how poignant and humours of a lyricist Shaw is. You can’t help but laugh at some of her seemingly abstract musings that make you marvel at mundane situations. From the moment this album opens with “Scratchcard Lanyard” you are drawn into Shaw’s surrealist world as she says “Pat Dad on the head, Alright, you big loud mouth, And thanks very much for the Twix”. It’s absurdist at its core and you often wonder how any of these thoughts connect. But perhaps that’s the point, they’re not supposed to, just like real thoughts. You can interpret them however you want but you’ll never know the true meaning behind them. “I bought 17 pounds of mushrooms for you, because I’m silly” she states on “Strong Feelings”, later saying that “Things just come to the brain”. And this is perhaps the perfect summary of Shaw’s lyricism.

It feels as though you’re watching through her mind as these mundane situations bore her to the point of wandering off into paths of thought that ponder why the Antiques Roadshow isn’t quite the same as it used to be on “John Wick”. And on “Leafy” she embodies the torturous monotony of trying to share common ground with someone. “An exhausting walk in the horrible countryside, A tiresome swim in a pointless bit of sea, Knackering drinks with close friends” she lists off. But laced throughout though there are at times very dark situations that Shaw leads you into. On “Her Hippo” she speaks of using the ideation of an escapist fantasy land to give her reason to leave the relationship she’s in. Describing her toxic environment with great unease, “His shadow looms around, A feeling of bees’ legs on my face, Safe inside a secret love, Let’s run!”. And although Shaw’s tendency is to give a straight cut delivery on most of her lyrics, you can feel the anger bursting out in places as declares “Her hippo, Everyday he’s a dick”.

Instrumentally this isn’t the most experimental sounding album you will ever hear, leaving that side of things to Shaw. But it’s not trying to be. Rather each funk infused guitar riff and driving bass line is acting as a gliding platform to allow Shaw’s lyrics to become their most poignant. With each movement there’s careful precision taken to ensure that each emotive burst out or change emphasises Shaw’s vocals with pin point accuracy. Like on “Scratchcard Lanyard” as Shaw seamlessly tumbles from her static listing of various types of bouncy balls to the line of “Wristband theme park, scratchcard lanyard” that hits every beat of the song with a flow with solid conviction.

The instrumentals have a unique ability to sound both tiresome and alive at the same time. Almost revelling in the every day drag that Shaw describes. On title track “New Long Leg” every instrument is telling a weird story of its own, the guitar seeming both frantic and disparaging within fleeting moments. And the guitar and bass lines keep everything on this steady and winding track. But look deeper and you can hear moments of brilliance in each part; together making something truly uniquely weird. And on closer “Every Day Carry” the track builds through swirling guitar lines, chugging drums and uniform bass lines as Shaw daydreams over chocolate chip cookies and wondering what it must be like to be the last tree left after a land has been deforested. Creeping in as the track chugs along are various uneasy samples and grinding sirens that help build this true sense of agitation and anxiety. Eventually leading into an instrumental break of guitar feedback that feels like it’s gotten stuck on a loop. But this is all precariously building towards the bands final flurry of intensity as Shaw declares “What a cruel heartless bastard you are, Welcome to hell”.

Albums are often judged on their ability to entice you into repeat listens, and this album is without a doubt going to have many of those. Each time you discover some new unearthed element that just makes you marvel at how many strange and surreal situations Shaw and co have packed into this album. From Llama Plushies to dentist’s back gardens, this album has everything you never knew you wanted.

black midi announce new album ‘Cavalcade’, share new single “John L”

Artwork by Anthrox Studio

black midi have announced Cavalcade, their new album out May 28th on Rough Tradeand today offer its lead single/video, “John L.” Pre-order here.

Cavalcade is a dynamic, hellacious, and inventive follow-up to 2019’s widely-praised Schlagenheim. It scales beautiful new heights, pulling widely from a plethora of genres and influences, reaching ever upwards from an already lofty base of early achievements. black midi — Geordie Greep (guitar, primary vocals), Cameron Picton (bass, vocals), and Morgan Simpson (drums) — picture Cavalcade as a line of larger than life figures, from a cult leader fallen on hard times and an ancient corpse found in a diamond mine to legendary cabaret singer Marlene Dietrich, strolling seductively past them.

When you’re listening, you can imagine all the characters form a sort of cavalcade. Each tells their story one by one and as each track ends they overtake you, replaced by the next in line,” comments Picton.

Album opener “John L,” available for 12” pre-order today with b side “Despair,”  has a massive sound, driven by some gutsy Discipline-era King Crimson thrust, and energy wrought by the inclusion of Jerskin Fendrix on violin. The group tease the raging track to the point of nonexistence before leading it through caverns of reverb and gauzy snareskin landscapes, just for it to return, hitting hard as hell once more. The story painted is a jet black comedy about what happens to cult leaders when their followers turn on them. Its equally massive video was directed by choreographer Nina McNeely, known for her work on Rihanna’s “Sledgehammer” and Gaspar Noe’s Climax

Listen to the new single below.

The groundwork for Cavalcade was laid in 2019 — musical sketches that had been brewing since the release of Schlagenheim began muscling their way into black midi set lists and finally became individual entities. But with this album, there was a “yearning” to be more considered and record something that was more harmonically interesting and challenging.

 “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the improvisation myth of divine intervention, that if a song doesn’t happen in the room naturally without it being guided by someone specifically, when we’re all just feeling the vibe, then it’s not proper and it’s not pure,” says Greep. “That’s kind of a dangerous thing because you end up never trying something different, or you just abandon an idea if it doesn’t work at first because you’re always waiting for that thing to arrive perfect.”

With this new approach in mind, half of Cavalcade was written by individual members at home and brought to the table in rehearsal. Simpson confirms it was to their advantage:“The experience this time round was completely the flipside to Schlagenheim. A lot of the material was really fresh but that was something that played into our hands and we relished it.”

After initially recording “John L” with producer Marta Salogni in London, the band found themselves in the aptly named Hellfire Studios, in the Dublin mountains, in summer 2020 under the eye of John ‘Spud’ Murphy. Geordie comments:

It worked really well with John. We wanted a natural, open sound combined with fourth wall breaks – for lack of a better expression. Do you know on record when you can hear the tape screeching, the things that make you aware that you’re listening to a recording? [With a lot of records] it feels like either you’re listening to the ECM, high-fidelity, 25 mic amazing sound or you have the lo-fi album full of crazy effects. And I thought, ‘Why not have an album where you combine the two?’ That was one of the main ideas going into it and John was very keen on that idea.” 

With original band member guitarist/vocalist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin taking time away from the group to focus on his mental health, black midi chose to augment their sound on Cavalcade, rather than replicate it, with saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and keyboard player Seth Evans.

Last week, indie retailers collectively curated a list of 10 songs for black midi to consider for a cover. Beginning today through March 25th, fans can vote for their favourite potential cover on black midi’s website. There will be 5 uniquely curated polls, resulting in 5 unique flexi disc options; one each for US indies, UK indies, Tower Records in Japan, Rough Trade Shops and International. A limited amount of standard album pre-orders will come with the market-specific flexi.

black midi will be performing live at Alexandra Palace Theatre on Nov 11th.  Tickets will be on pre-sale from 31st March and General Sale from 1st April.

Cavalcade Tracklist

1. John L

2. Marlene Dietrich

3. Chondromalcia Patella

4. Slow

5. Diamond Stuff

6. Dethroned

7. Hogwash and Balderdash

8. Ascending Forth

The Lounge Society announce debut EP, share new single

Photo by Piran Aston

The Lounge Society are today sharing new single “Cain’s Heresy”, and announcing the release of their debut EP Silk For The Starving on Speedy Wunderground. With just two singles under their belts – “Generation Game”, the fastest selling 7″ for the label, and “Burn The Heather” – and a raft of Ones To Watch accolades for 2021, there is much anticipation for what lies next for the band.

Almost one year ago, “Generation Game” announced the band as artists shaping powerful narratives around a fast-fragmenting society. With the lyric “what will the US do?” they served up a painfully prescient prediction of American unrest. Follow-up single “Burn The Heather” made a left-hand turn for the more punk-funk, sneering at culture wars and the damaging impact of a class divide. New single “Cain’s Heresy” shakes with the propulsion of a nimble rhythm section, full of bite and scorn, simultaneously swinging angrily at a negligent political class (“The death of four souls is less than a kick in the teeth, for them”), the threat of misinformation (“Poisonous ideals on the screen breed a vicious way of thinking, off the screen”) and the noxious follow-the-leader march of celebrity culture (“They’re Servants to fame”). The EP title “Silk For The Starving” in itself probes at a society that routinely neglects the needs of the have-nots.

The video for “Cain’s Heresy” was filmed at the iconic Hebden Bridge Trades Club, and is a homage to The Strokes’ “The Modern Age” video – which incidentally turns 20 years old this month – and features a cameo from The Strokes’ producer Gordon Raphael. The band expands a little more on the song:

“Cain’s Heresy is a portrait of the world we’re headed to – where consumers lie sedated while ‘This Week’s Hot Trend’ and ‘101 Style Tips For Summer’ are forced down their throats by gloved hands. It’s our way of saying ‘not on my watch’. Cain and Abel were brothers at war, and this song is our last stand in the war on culture which is being waged by corporations at the moment. Musically the song isn’t designed to fu*k about – we could’ve filled it with 7th chords and synths and bleeps and bloops but we wanted it to be raw and honest, and we think it sounds all the better for it.”

Tracklist:

  1. Burn The Heather
  2. Television
  3. Cain’s Hersey
  4. Valley Bottom Fever

Hot New Single: The Mums – Summer Sauna

Photo by Jack Pulman

Remember concerts? Remember being able to drink with your mates in the sun without the fear of catching a deadly virus? We don’t. But The Mums certainly do.

Comprised of power couple Jack Pulman (Birdskulls) on guitar and vocals, singer Emily Brown and Luke Ellis (Muncie Girls), The Mums are a breezy indie punk project full of bright guitar riffs and fuzzy basslines. The Exeter trio recorded an EP of songs yet to be announced quietly over last year through lockdown, with ‘Summer Sauna’ being their first offering.

‘Summer Sauna’ gracefully takes you by the hand with its sticky opening melody. Pulman and Brown’s vocals go together like cookies and cream, with Ellis’s abrasive drum fills giving off heavy Pity Sex and Lemuria vibes respectively. Loud and soft, juxtaposing rapidly between sungazing without a care in the world and headbanging. With a chorus that blesses you like an unexpected hit of dopamine, we can’t wait to hear what else The Mums have in store for us in the future.

You can listen to ‘Summer Sauna’ below.

Goat Girl unveil the magic behind their mystifying second album: “We just jam it out. Jam sandwich”

Photo by Holly Whitaker

Hailing from South London, a part of the Windmill Brixton generation, a venue that has been the catalyst for so many big names of modern indie such as Shame, Sorry and Tiña. Goat Girl have spent the last few years establishing themselves as one of the most talked about and exciting post-punk, indie and every other label they can be put under bands. Their debut album Goat Girl was nominated for the Mercury Prize back in 2018, a sign of true artistic brilliance in itself.

This Friday they release their long anticipated sophomore album On All Fours. An album that focuses on the tribulations of the modern day, from climate change to racism in the media to entitled men. But whilst the album takes on the world, the band gives you an insight to their own world through an unbridled amount of intimacy of personal stories of struggles with mental health and the emotive weight that isolation can have on someone. Without knowing it Goat Girl created one of the most 2020 albums possible before the year had really began.

Their sound has also evolved to take on a more smooth, jazzy and vibrantly expansive feel. Synthesisers at their helm, there’s a new found collaborative and groove fuelled tint to the bands sound, whilst still retaining that signature flair of moodiness. Thanks in part to new bassist Holly Hole who introduced the band to her Minilogue synth and to Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, the synth wizard himself, who let the band take residence inside his lair of bubbling and explosive synthesisers. We spoke to the band to give us the lowdown on the ingredients that they brewed together to make their mystifying second album.

What does the title ‘On All Fours’ mean or represent? 
L.E.D: It means a lot of things…and it can mean anything you like. But to me, there’s a strong connotation of animalism. It explores the way in which we’re humans, and therefore disparate from the natural world, and on the other hand, we are also so undeniably a part of the natural world – for all of its beauty, glory and gore. 

Opener “Pest” is about the casual racism that is used within the media as well as the “powers that be” controlling our lives on a daily basis. Were there any particular moments that inspired this song?

 L.E.D: Lottie wrote that song when she read a headline that labelled a storm the ‘beast from the east’. It’s about the propaganda that we in the west are fed, in order for us to believe that environmental issues are a ‘foriegn’ thing, with foreign roots, rather than addressing the fact that the west has a lot to answer for in terms of the climate crisis, as well as humanitarian struggles.

One theme that is consistent throughout the album is self worth and finding ways to deal with issues of mental health and anxieties. What’s the importance to you about talking openly about your mental health in songs?

L.E.D: For ‘tough’ topics like mental health to be buried, sensored and avoided only makes things worse. Everyone struggles, because we are human, but if only we shared our struggles, rather than burying it, and never asking for help, we might be able to heal a bit better from trauma, stress, depression, you name it. I think one of the best things that we can do for others and ourselves is to talk openly about how we feel because through communication comes understanding, empathy, and love. People love helping each other, and you’re never alone, but we have to be reminded of this!

In the writing process for “Jazz ( In The Supermarket” you all switched instruments and for “A-Men” the theme is about coming out of your comfort zone. In doing this do you feel it unlocked part of your creativity as a band and songwriters that you wouldn’t have otherwise? 

L.E.D: Definitely. I think we all became a bit complacent with our usual instruments – feeling like we didn’t know how to play anything that sounded fresh and exciting, so having a break from the usual instruments and switching round definitely helped get that fresh feeling, as well as get excited again about our original instruments.  

What was it like working with Dan Carey as producer? And what did he help bring to the album?

L.E.D: He bought so much! We worked closely with him doing pre-production; using his MPC drum machine which was programmed in time, and included some time changes within some songs. This made it feel more natural for rosy to drum along to (rather than a metronome), and therefore made the album sit in a more electronic world than our first album, without too much sonic rigidity. Dan’s studio is like a dream come true – a world of tangled wires, synths, drum machines, amazing vintage guitars and boutique amps just waiting for you to mess around with and find stuff you like. There’s very much a sense of exploration rather than domination with Dan’s production style. He’s happy to suggest things (and he’s usually right), but he allows everyone to make their own choices with moulding the live sound they want to capture. 

The album features a lot more synthesisers than your debut, what was it about these sounds that drew you towards them? 

L.E.D: When Holly joined the band, she introduced us to the minilogue synth (Kylie). This was like an exciting new toy to us guitar heads that were used to having our heads in our pedal boards, amps, and midi keyboards. Rosy is a hidden gem when it comes to keys as well. The interludes on the first album were based around piano songs that Rosy wrote. We all love electronic music, and our home demos often sit more in the electronic world because we’re using Logic to record them, so it was natural for this to shine through in the album. Lottie uses synths loads in her own music too. I (Ellie) got a Yamaha CS Reface which is a really great first synth for a guitarist because there’s no presets, so it’s more like using a pedal board in a way, and experimenting with the knobs til you find something you like. I used to think you have to have this in-depth technical electronic knowledge to play synth, but that’s just not the case. 

The vocals in “Jazz ( In The Supermarket)” were inspired by Bulgarian folk choir, what other inspirations did you have for the sound of this album? 

I (ellie) was particularly inspired by the current UK jazz scene in my guitar playing. I got bored of the standard indie guitar chords. There’s so much great stuff out there at the moment – from Alfa Mist, Demae, Ego Ella May, Yazmin Lacey, to name a few. There’s also a big cross over of jazz in india right now, which is one of my favourite sounds – that kind of loungey/ psych soul, with bands like Crumb, Sault, Holy Hive, and Alice Pheobe-Lou, and KerenDun. Then there’s a load of electronic stuff that I was influenced by like Steve Spacek, Shigeto, Sneaks, keyah/blu and Channel Tres; I see these artists as exerting a kind of dark euphoria, with a gothic undertones, which I relate to and seek to craft myself.

How as a band do you draw together to get each others unique influence to create such a vibrant sound?

 We just jam it out. Jam sandwich 

The Windmill in Brixton has played an important part in becoming who you are as a band today. What does this venue mean to you and as part of the independent scene as a whole?

L.E.D: I’d say it’s our musical home, for sure. We were kind of born there (as a band) if you like, and spent our formative years there. There’s a certain atmosphere with The Windmill that makes you feel welcome and able to be yourself and express yourself freely. This is something that I’ve seldom found elsewhere in London venues. 

Palberta – Palberta5000 Album Review

Wharf Cat Records – 2021

New-York based art-punk trio Palberta return with their fifth full length album, coming two years after the release of 2018’s Roach Going Down. Recorded at Matt Labozza’s (PALM, Shimmer) home studio which is located in the original home and family lamp-store of Paul Reuben (Pee Wee Herman) within in the space of four days. The band took to capturing their tightly woven and yet joyously chaotic live aesthetic as closely as possible by only using a maximum of three takes for each track. The end result was a weird and wild album that focuses on tight cut minimalism over heavy ragers and pays an ode to Egg and Bacon sandwiches.

The elements that shape this album are shifting time signatures, catchy riffs and vibrant harmonies. Throughout the tracklist they seem to stick to this tried and true formula, whether they’re singing about cows on “The Cow” or sweet love songs on live favourite “Corner Store”. And this allows the bands sound to stay continually cohesive, almost feeling like one long jam as each song emerges into the next. It’s said sometimes that the band don’t have a drummer, guitarist or bass player, but rather 3 of each. They will constantly swap instruments during live performances, whilst still retaining that integral level of control and synchronicity. And this can be heard all over the album, as each building block of their sound remains constantly dynamic.

That doesn’t mean to say they’ve lost their sparky edge however as “Fragile” is as erratic as it is intoxicating. As the dreamy vocals lull you into a false sense of security whilst almost warning you for what is about to come “Don’t step too close, don’t step that close”. This juxtaposition to the frantic and menacing descending riff that chugs along through the song is encapsulating. And as the vocals build and harmonise you feel as if you’re being conjured under a spell as the band dances around you in time to the driving beat. These hypnotising harmonies are also highlighted on “The Way That You Do” as the song moves from dreamlike infatuation on the chorus to anxiety instrumental passages, the vocals act as almost a blanket that welcomes you back into safety.

These repeated lyrics are another element of the minimalism that the band seems to strive for on this album. On numerous occasions the chorus line will be repeated and the verses will left to be taken over by the instrumentals, creating some jagged but more often than not groovy melodic riffs. On tracks such as the slow jam of “Red Antz” however there’s a certain distinction that these songs stand out as having more flow over their repeated lyric counterparts. “Yeah I can’t pretend what I want” they repeat for nearly 3/4ths of the runtime of “Big Bad Want”, they are driving the message home in true punk fashion but more often than not it can become somewhat tiresome with the clean sound instrumentation.

That’s perhaps the biggest downfall of this album, that it constantly feels like there’s something missing, or the songs just need that little bit extra to boost them into life. Don’t get me wrong you can certainly bang your head to the pounding beat of “Summer Sun”, but like the real summer, it’s over before it can truly be enjoyed. The result of these short bursts of 2 minute jams almost leaves the album feeling like a radio show, with jingles coming in and out, they’ll be bouncing around your head all day but you always feel like you can’t quite pin where the sound came from. Although this formula isn’t uncommon for the band, there’s just that spark of energy missing this time. And even on the longest song “All Over My Face” it feels as if the band aren’t sure where to take the song as it takes in so many different movements and ideas that it’s hard to keep track of where the song is going.

Whilst this album may bounce around from song to song, melody to harmony almost every minute of its run time there’s no denying that Palberta still remain as intriguing as ever. You can call them punk, you can call them pop, but with whatever style they choose to swap around with next, that signature flair of intoxication with their sound is sure to remain.