L-SPACE – Feed The Engines!
In 2018, Scottish electronic group L-Space delivered their awe-inspiring debut album Kipple Arcadia, which ultimately made #2 on The SMS 100 and cemented them as, in my mind, one of the country’s coolest and most talented troupes.
Then in 2019, they released the Music For Megastructures score, which was well put together, but it felt like a departure of sorts, lacking the bits and bobs that made the previous effort, and their brand as a whole, special.
However, in the present day of 2020, they are gearing up for their next release, Feed The Engines, and I believe this was the true follow-up that my heart desired.
Karoshi commences with the eerie computerised voice of Lily, but eventually we do hear her in her full clear-cut glory, which is beautifully sweet and delicate as always. Right from the offset, we get some incredibly potent writing; the line “I want the revolution, but I’m tired” alone is the perfect sum up of current society.
Ok is heart-warming, and showcases such a diverse range in the synth work, which admirably roams in multiple directions in just the space of over 3 minutes, and Diamonds Are For Breakfast is an engagingly catchy track with a terrific chorus, a thick pulsating beat and these glowing harmony-like notes.
The spiralling words of The Machine Will Handle It get caught in a loop inside your head, and it’s immersed in very haunting overtones; the robotic keys contributing to that in a compelling manner. Nightvision is a lot creamer in comparison and quite nice, although it would have been to have seen it be expanded further beyond the shorter runtime.
Unit Of Production is another incredibly written cut that hits close to home, and Jimmy Reid’s famous speech is perfectly implemented, and there’s yet another creative idea at the base of Extinctathon Champions 2020, which is somehow able to be both coarse and harmonious simultaneously.
Bloom Rapids is an intriguingly different kind of love song with a stunning vibe surrounding it, boosted by the solid drums and sweet riffs, the previously released Fill Your Heads With Static returns here, as always making an impression with its radiant cybernetic composition to match the inspiration, and it all comes to a close with No-One Lives Here Anymore, dark and chilling, yet glimmering with a faint hope of light in the midst of sorrow.
Wow. This is a thing of beauty. Two years after being exposed to and falling in love with Kipple Arcadia, L-Space have triumphed again with another exceptional product. But it goes further yet, as there is one major difference between them: Kipple Arcadia I liked at first and it grew on me, but Feed The Engines made a striking impact instantly, which alone warrants the argument that this is even better and perhaps the greatest thing they’ve ever done.
I’m constantly amazed by this trio’s ability to apply ridiculous amounts of creativity and use that to form these dazzling stories with fascinating themes conveyed via enchanting lyrics, and it’s paired up with a tremendous sound that is being regularly and impeccably evolved.
L-Space – or Post Coal Prom Queen, I should be saying – really are one of a kind, the exact sort of act that inspire me to get enthusiastic about the very prospect of exploring every nook and cranny for the best music out there.
*AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 7th FEBRUARY (lossless) + FRIDAY 3rd APRIL (physical/digital)*
IN ASSOCIATION WITH LAST NIGHT FROM GLASGOW
Glaswegian post-hardcore quartet Dead By Monday have been around the block for a few years now, but it wasn’t until 2019 where they truly began to make major waves, and they have initiated their 2020 in a huge manner with their self-titled debut full-length release.
They don’t hesitate delivering the juicy stuff right from the offset with Lost Generation, a bloody whopper of a track with a massive scale to it, and a key factor in that is leading man Jordan’s scarily strong vocal power, plus the guitars and drums are weighty, and it manages to regularly switch it up in style.
They keep that intensity alive in the adverse, politically-charged American Horror Story, which is brimming with hardened bass tones; the latter carrying through into Dreamseeker, which is defined by an insanely catchy, boogieing rhythm and sweet chorus. Bed Of Nails flurries through at a forceful pace, and the singing is the stand out quality of Hear Me.
We finally get to have a breather with the interlude, and after some gentle acoustic strums, they fire back into the madness with The Binding, where they also expand their reach with such additions as the warm harmony hooks. They fly through Atom Bomb with an unbridled energy and hit out with great solos and a solid breakdown, and they crank it up even higher in Until Death, battering out thumping beats while giving us more memorable writing.
Then out of nowhere, they swoop into a completely new direction with the two-part Fractured, the first half a totally stripped back piece that is captivating and genuinely emotional, and they even apply strings which is really cool. They then fluently transition into the mental second half, serving as an outstanding climax to an outstanding ride.
I have honestly been so taken aback here. In the past, Dead By Monday were just another act in a loaded scene, but following huge progress in such a short span, they have went above and beyond in their efforts to produce what is all by rights a phenomenal album that I’m confident will rank as one of the defining Scottish records of 2020; not just in the rock/metal genre, but across the entire board.
I’m so proud of the guys and have all the respect in the world for them. I predict that things are going to change for the better, because they have visibly endeavoured and branched up to another playing field, and they deserve to be promoted to a wider audience.
What’s that? Horn & Hoof Records compiling a split EP featuring four of England’s finest punk acts? Don’t mind if I do.
London quartet Werecats are first up to the plate. You Will Love Me is an enjoyably breezy, melodic tune with a lively stroke to it and pretty good harmonies, but it’s a shame that the ballistic Pizza Tramp is as short as it is because it would have been awesome to see it expanded upon in full glory, but as is, a sweet way to begin.
Derby trio The Atoms take the wheel now and aren’t hesitant in being brutal in the lovingly spiteful I Hope She Dies, featuring cracking riffs too, and similarly, Steve Is A Smackrat is damn catchy and hooking, so overall, a top notch pair of contributions.
Brummie group Skimmer kick off with Cinders, where everything on the instrumental side of things is excellent and the vocals are fresh, and they crank up the tempo for the decent Anastasia. More worthy additions here.
And finally are Oldham ska punk threesome The Crash Mats, who open with You’re A Loose Cannon which is a quick and blinding track with dynamic rugged guitars, and they only get better with the awesomely entertaining, full-frontal Curry Party.
Clearly, the best were saved for last, making for a banging conclusion to a damn fine assortment headed by a bunch of acts that every punk fan should definitely be giving the time of day.
IN ASSOCIATION WITH HORN & HOOF RECORDS
NEVERMAN – It’s Not A Prison, It’s A Prism
Based in Portchester, the rock quartet Neverman have done a lot to grab attention within a short period of time, including a respectable sell-out of Wedgewood Rooms, and as their popularity increases, they’re getting ready to finally put out their debut EP – It’s Not A Prison, It’s A Prism.
They slide at a lax pace into E=McK, eventually flipping the switch to a middle tempo, and from there they deliver solid vocals and riffs, and the melody is nice and engaging. A fair starting point overall, but they truly begin to pick it up with Holes, which is pretty damn catchy, especially given that it’s carried by a groovy rhythm, and they wrap it up with a prime solo.
Now we’re getting into serious business with Picasso Dream. Right off the bat, the bass lines are funky, leading into these low, mounting verses that then launch into terrific, memorable choruses. And then we come to the closing lead single Ibiza ‘98, where the drumming pack a punch, the harmonies display more passion than ever, the lyrics are noteworthy, and the main hook is a pure belter.
While it does take a while to find proper footing, this is nonetheless a really sound effort that is exciting and entertaining when it hits a peak, and there’s more than enough reason here to become a fan and join the boys on their rise to the top.
*AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 21st FEBRUARY*
IN ASSOCIATION WITH LOST IN THE MANOR
ANGELLORE – Rien Ne Devait Mourir
It has been a four year wait for fans, but after a part-strenuous, part-creatively satisfying shift, French atmos-doom outfit Angellore are set to finally return with their new album – Rien Ne Devait Mourir.
A Romance Of Thorns is first, where an orphic choir greets the listener and sparks their curiosity fast. From there, they patiently take their time in building up the mood in several phases, the most memorable of those being carried by Lucia’s stunning voice and the decent extreme vocals, and both the middle and closing sections where the pace is ramped up. A few minutes could have been shaved off, but bonus points for the ambition to open with a meaty piece.
Dreams starts off with a pleasant mix of woodwind and acoustics and maintains that throughout the rest of the pretty solid track complete with good lyrics and rocking guitar work. Drowned Divine is another lengthy song where they go full-on gothic through the lyrical content and it makes for an investing narrative as a result, and the singing across the board is on top form.
Blood For Lavania is great with its driving pulse and catchy chorus, the completely instrumental Sur les Sentiers de Lune is majestic, and makes for a nice gateway into the final tune Que Les Lueurs Se Dispersent which is, aside from the somewhat overly long pauses hurting the stride, an enjoyably grand scale affair.
So while it’s true that there are a number of spots that lack oomph, this is otherwise a cool, dark and even sometimes ethereal record with an engaging theatrical vibe to it, and when at its best, it’s totally magnetic.