Nai Harvest – Hairball

by Ed Crisp

pic by Ed Crisp

 

It is telling that Hairball, the new album from UK rockers Nai Harvest, only took one full listen to become a constantly recurring incitement, returning as it wished and dominating thoughts for the following hours. Subsequent plays only reinforced its initial impact and confirmed that the album is one intoxicating feast of fuzz punk.

There is much more to the sound of the Sheffield duo of Ben Thompson and Lew Currie than fuzz though, a healthy mix of psyche and indie rock, with Brit pop spicing, adding to the tantalising sound fuelling the contagious songs within the pair’s second album. It is a flavouring also markedly distinct to that which lit up the band’s previous album and releases. The sonic uproars which coarsely fascinated from within 2013 debut album Whatever and the more mellower fuzzily charmed sounds of the following year’s Hold Open My Head EP, have evolved into magnetic devilments of indie/pop rock riots flavoured further by the sonic mixed spiced mentioned earlier. With ease the new album overshadows the band’s previous impressive releases, presenting a creative and aural coming of age which is nothing less than irresistible.

Recorded with producer Bob Cooper (Sky Ferreira, Citizen) and released via US label Topshelf Records, Hairball instantly has ears and attention beaming with opener Spin. Enticing beats converse with just as alluring guitar enterprise to start the song off, their unity a sunspot of temptation expanded by the sonic colouring and vocal incitement provided by the guitar and voice of Thompson. The constant beats of Currie pulsate within the subsequent vivacious shuffle of the song, the pair breeding a rousing clamour of melodic punkiness and pop catchiness which has as much of a Ramones hue to it as it does a Teenage Fanclub or Strokes whisper.

The excellent start is swiftly surpassed by Sick on My Heart, the track an immediate onslaught of thumping rhythms and melodic jangles roared over by Thompson’s ever beguiling delivery. Feet and emotions are quickly ignited by the energy and virulence of the fuzz fuelled adventure, with its hazy air as incendiary as its pop punk nature is fiery. Its majestic incitement is followed by the slightly more restrained All the Time though the rhythmic provocation from Currie is just as punchy and anthemic. The track has appetite and emotions recruited quite early on but it is the twists into unpredictable and imaginative exploits which really sets it alight and has ears over excited.

11183_JKT     Both the groove lit Drinking Bleach and the nineties hued Melanie keep things irresistibly bubbling, the first exploring a muggier sonic climate with a more reserved energy across its evocative canvas. Its successor is a glorious kiss of melodic tang and fuzzy tempting, vocals and beats aligning to bring a bit of an edge to what is a superb pop song. Its hooks are sharp and inescapable, enterprise spicy and lingering, but mostly the song is unbridled infectiousness which simply enslaves within seconds.

A new recording of previous single Buttercups steps up next, its tempestuous hazy presence once more overwhelming bait to get greedy over whilst next up Ocean of Madness from a great rhythmic beckoning, saunters through surf rock meets Brit pop seduction with what feels like a Manchester bred swagger. Both songs leave a want for more, a need fed by the raucous revelry of Dive In where again addiction forging hooks and psyche permeating grooves cast a creative hex which returns whenever it pleases whether in a hum, swing of the gait, or a badly delivered croon.

     Gimme Gimme finds a simple seventies pop welcome in its infectious dance, though it is soon immersed in thick melodies and anthemic tenacity courtesy of Currie’s swings and the always richly enticing tones of Thompson. The song’s pungent call has to make way for the closing triumph in the album’s title track. Hairball is just sonic seduction, its initial gentle stroll and melodic flames alone an unstoppable tempting whilst the Weezer-esque air adding to the fuzz fest of persuasion simply enriches the distinct character of the encounter. Unpredictability again has a big part in the strength and potency of the song whilst everything you would want in a pop or rock song is on offer, but combined with a unique resourcefulness and creative mischief it all blossoms in to even greater alchemy.

   Hairball is one colossal epidemic of fun and contagion from a band hitting a new thrilling pinnacle. Not much more to add really.

Hairball is out now through Topshelf Records @ https://topshelfrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hairball

https://twitter.com/naiharvest   https://www.facebook.com/naiharvestband

RingMaster 29/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Liberteer – Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees

The current rebellious discontent around the world has a new soundtrack in the brutal and violent Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees from Californian anarchic grindcore metalers Liberteer. The album is a ferocious blast not only across the senses but at the world and its oppressive established hand. It also is a stirring call to arms, a battle cry for all to find their voice, venom, and unique heart to fight.

      Liberteer is the individual project of just one man and his direct and incendiary drive to inform and inspire against the world and its puppeteer’s wrongs, Matthew Widener (Cretin, Citizen, and ex-Exhumed). The harsh and venomous sounds and the even more potent lyrics in some ways continue on from his previous work with Citizen, certainly his fight and attack against the deep wrongs and apathy that blankets the world continues with the same powerful muscle but as Widener recently stated “My thoughts on politics slowly changed over the past six years. In Citizen I had a sense of outrage about our government, but because it still supported the idea of state, it doesn’t make much sense to me now. I’ve come to embrace the ideas of anarchy. The old band name, Citizen, represents a system of exclusion and nationalism, things I can’t stand now, so I had to rename the band and change a lot of things. I think the good things about the music are still there—the thematic, major-key riffs, the d-beats and blasts—but the message is now pure.”
     Released January 31st via Relapse Records the anarchic Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees is a relentless battering and arousal which rather than leave one a quivering wreck inspires and ignites passion within. It certainly is not an easy ride and at times as the crimson drips from the ear one staggers back under its weight of its grindcore/hardcore/punk/thrash might. The sounds are multi veined with enterprising elements though this is often veiled by the attack from the rebellion’s core and its deeply satisfying artillery of intrusive grindcore sounds.

The album opens with  ‘The Falcon Cannot Hear The Falconer ‘ and its burning fuse which leads to a triumphant declaration of aural war,  the track and subsequent album crushing and defusing senses with pummelling intrusive riffs, scything delicious guitars and an array of glorious insertions from mandolins, banjos and horns. The track is the meeting place for the fight ahead and the introduction to a blistering tumultuous album. The majority of the songs range between a single minute to two but all hit with an intensity that scars without destroying the attention and focus for what is ahead. The flow of the album, is fluid too, each track barely taking a gulp of breath before thrusting the next sonic excursion for the ear into the face and though often one loses track of which song one is lost in multiple plays soon makes each individual identity clear and recognisable.

Consisting of seventeen destructive tracks the consistency is impressively high. All the songs permeate and welcomingly manipulate for the deepest satisfaction though at times one wonders if it is just enjoyment or the trigger of hidden emotions the release inspires that eagerly welcomes its scarring intent. To be honest it is both as the album is an incredible release that if it works for you will stay a close friend for all time. As mentioned all tracks are extremely strong but some go that little further in connection and raucous pleasing. ‘Build No System’ is a manic maelstrom of thoughtfully melded sounds and confirms that for all the mayhem and destructive intent and sounds scorching the senses they are all carefully structured and put together. ‘Rise Like Lions After Slumber’ with its glorious mandolin over an abusive wall of sound, ‘Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees’ with a delicious grumpy bass sound, the staggeringly brilliant ‘Usurious Epitaph‘with its inspiring grooved march into the bile soaked call to arms of ‘Revolution’s Wick Burning Quick’, plus the symphonic laced ‘Sweat For Blood’, all excite with something extra.

     Better To Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees is a rapid fire rampaging anarchic statement politically and musically, a release that deserves and will get massive acclaim and attention. Liberteer has spoken are you listening?

RingMaster 17/01/2012

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