Posts Tagged ‘Album rreview’

18th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

So a quick scan back tells me I’ve been covering Salvation Jayne since they released ‘Burn it Down’ back in April 2017 – which actually predates their formation according to the bio on their own website. No, I’m not here to be pedantic, or explicitly to gloat about having been one of the first people to have ‘discovered’ them or whatever, but… well, there’s always a certain element of pride to know you spotted a talent, even of the talent introduced itself first.

They’ve come a long way since, and their debut album, A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite is a very different beast from where they were back then. That said, they’re still big on attitude and choruses, only more so, and then some. You wouldn’t expect anything different from Chess Smith, who demonstrates a fierce – but friendly – drive to succeed where her musical career’s concerned. Salvation Jayne have never been hesitant about coming forward, and have sold out multiple headline shows as well as scoring notable support slots with the likes of Milk Teeth, Rews, Saint Agnes and The Subways.

That Mouthful is a proper album rather than an assemblage of tracks from previous EPs and singles – of which there is easily an album’s worth – tells us where the band is at. Forward-facing, creating, moving, and at pace. There’s a nod to ‘Burn it Down’ in the form of a fifty-second snip that acts as a bridge between ‘Diadem’ and ‘No Antidote’ (which is an instant classic, bringing together urgent and energetic drumming, chiming 80s indie guitar verses and a belting chorus with all the vocal power) but none of their previous singles make the cut here. Even 2021’s ‘Violent Silence’ is absent, and it makes sense: it’s too pop and doesn’t sit within the sequence, and it’s clear they’ve spent a long time working on making this a document of the band now. If ‘Cortez’ and ‘Coney Island, Baby!’ showed that they could do proper solid rock tunes with some chunky riffs, then A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite realises that promise with wall-to-wall riffs.

‘Apathetic Apologies’ was perhaps an obvious choice for a lead video-single release: it’s kinda crisp and clean (although still boasts a thick bass sound) and eases the listener in with manifold layers and some nice production. It’s got big guitars and big production, and it’s overtly ‘rock’ but at the same time it’s easy on the ear and has clear radio airplay potential. Reflecting on this, for many bands, this would be an album or EP closer: it’s got anthem written all over it. So where do you go from here? Well, Salvation Jayne go into goth-tinged 80s alt-rock territory with the sultry, brooding ‘Diadem’.

They really crank up the riffage with ‘I Am Simply Not What You Thought’, a song they’ve been honing live over the last couple of years, and which has evolved substantially over that time. While the vocals remain melodic and harmonious, they’re not weedy or emo: this is full-lunged, solid rock to the core. And it’s sincere, and that sincerity imbues it with power beyond the drive of the guitars and powerhouse percussion. A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite is brimming with passion, and you feel it .

The title track is a rollercoaster of emotion and stylistic switches, but hangs together perfectly, highlighting the band’s songwriting skills. The title track takes a turn for the heavy with some monster riffage in the last minute, and they go stoner on ‘Cody’, and they’d probably start bracing them selves for an arm-wrestle with Queens of the Stone Age before long.

‘Drink you Down’ swerves into 80s electro pop with a hint of shoegaze. It’s misty, but so, so buoyant, and the guitars take a back seat. You couldn’t say A Mouthful Of Magnificent Spite isn’t varied. It’s a fiery and exhilarating album that kicks arse from beginning to end.

AA

Artwork - Salvation Jayne

Gizeh Records – GZH65DP – 18th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Gizeh is a label which grasps the importance of the complete music experience, and never stint on their packaging. Anyone purchasing their product can feel a tangible sense of both art and artefact, and Anders Brørby’s brooding instrumental album Nihil, the second release in their ‘Dark Peaks’ series, is no exception, housed as it is in a textured gatefold sleeve, the radiating sunburst design raised from the surface, in heavy black ink on a matt black background. How much more black could it be? The answer is none. None more black (the white paper band printed with the artist’s name and album title which much be carefully slid from around the sleeve in order to access the contents notwithstanding).

The presentation provides a suitable indication as to the sonic experience it prefaces. Nihil meaning nothing: while it has, since the 19th Century come to connote a negativity, manifesting as antagonism or rejection through the widespread use of ‘nihilism’, as of and in itself, ‘nihil’, or ‘nothing’ implies an absence. Neither positive or negative, it is simply a lack. Absolute nothing is beyond the human ken, and so, in artistic terms, there is a need to portray nothing, absence, with something. This is something Norwegian composer sound artist Brørby achieves on the 10 pieces which comprise Nihil.

Primarily, the music is dark. There is a lack, an absence, of light, at least in terms of the overall sensation it conveys. Melding elements of drone and dark ambient with more abrasive sounds, the compositions infer an experimental bent which places atmosphere at the fore. The structures are almost subliminal, the shapes of the pieces largely evolve and emerge briefly through a succession of transitions as layers of sound overlap and drift across one another almost imperceptibly. Musical forms are therefore explicitly absent, expounding the concept of ‘nihil’. As such, Nihil is a work of subtlety, and a work which bears theoretical scrutiny, and sits alongside works by the likes of Christian Fennesz, Lawrence English and Tim Hecker.

But subtlety should not be read as a synonym for sedate or tranquil. ‘As Dead as the Stars We Watched at Night’ builds layers of dark noise and swelling drones scrape and torment the nerves, and while the gentle, chimes which ripple in cadence through ‘I Will Always Disappoint You’ offer a glimmer of light and warmth, ‘Put Your Ear to the Ground’ finds a harsh, thick distorted fuzz that obliterates the smooths contrails beneath and accentuates the unrest on which Nihil is constructed. Likewise, the serrated howl of ‘From the Window Above the Lake’ conveys the anguish of emptiness.

Through the medium of sound, Brørby creates a conceptual absence (not to be confused with an absence of concept). There is no message, and Brørby does not purport to convey anything through the work beyond ‘raw atmospheres’. ‘Raw’ implies unfiltered, unadulterated, without manipulation nor refinement, and while this may not be strictly true of Anders Brørby’s creative process, Nihil nevertheless presents itself as being self-contained, a work about absence of anything but the sounds it contains. It is not ‘about’ Anders Brørby, and if anything, the artist is, if not completely absent, then very much hiding in the shadows.

It’s an album that’s best appreciated in a semi-present state, to allow the sounds to slowly wash over the senses and most of all, to be heard without preconceptions or expectations. Because nothing can often leave you with so much more than something.

Anders Brorby - Nihil

 

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4022471447/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/

 

Anders Brørby Bandcamp