Nobody’s ever said, and meant, that lyrics are overrated. Mainly because language is brilliant – an ever-evolving rainbow of lexical opportunity that enables us to distil complex processes into but a few syllables. And the whole a picture’s worth a thousand words thing? Bullshit. You can’t convey the nutritional information of a Kit-Kat with a photo of some roller-skating pandas.
But there are bands that manage to successfully carry emotion, message and meaning in music shorn of discernable lyricism. Indeed, one could say there are plenty. Brontide, a British trio comprised of Tim Hancock, William Bowerman and Nathan Fairweather, are amongst the best out there right now. Previously a pretty raucous proposition, for album two, ‘Artery’, they’ve cooled the fires a little to allow for a greater emphasis on bracing melody and an almost verse-chorus-verse accessibility to music that, bearing in mind its instrumental nature, perhaps shouldn’t be so instant to click with.
It takes just the one listen to ‘Artery’ to appreciate how sublimely structured these songs are, though, how they cut through the typical noise of post-rock practitioners by streamlining the peaks and troughs synonymous with such fare into a cleaner, more concise package. Eight songs, each an essential part of a considered whole, this is an album that nips and tucks itself into a refined end product that can’t fail to connect with ears open enough to allow it space to impress.
Electronics play a greater role here than on the band’s 2011 debut, ‘Sans Souci’ (reviewed on the BBC) – they’re crystal on the closing moments of ‘Kith And Kin’, more embedded within the bass-and-drums-and-guitar formulas elsewhere. When the adrenalin rushes, songs like ‘Bare My Bones’ are the result: a hyper-frenetic riff workout that’s somewhere in the region of Russian Circles.
Those same shades of metal are apparent in ‘Knives’ too, albeit complemented by a real swagger in the guitar work – it’s surprisingly easy to draw a parallel between it and something Arctic Monkeys might’ve dreamed up during their own desert sessions. Then there’s the sweetly arresting ‘Still Life’, on which Owls-ian guitars are stripped of amplification, the affect like Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla gone post-hardcore.
It’s good, is what we’re saying. And we’re premiering the whole album here, so check it out…
‘Artery’ is released through Pink Mist on June 30th. Find the band online here and see them live as follows:
26th – Oslo, London
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