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NARC Magazine - September 2014

Posted on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 | No Comments

It's About That Time.
Album Reviews

Jenny Hval & Susanna - Meshes of Voice

Jenny Hval: provocative, chilling, quietly confrontational. Susanna Wallumrød: soothing, enthralling, classical. These two singers, songwriters and arrangers begin from very different sonic and emotional terrain, but their meeting on Meshes of Voices makes startling, crystalline sense. For this full-length collaboration, they make the most of the juxtapositions of their voices and approaches, the album’s ebb and flow from piano calm to noise storm mirrored in the way Wallumrød’s soaring, pure voice finds itself challenged and shadowed by Hval’s shape-shifting inquisitions. The formalistic beauty of Milk Pleasures collapses into the electronic fire I Have Walked This Body to a perfect, counter-intuitive logic. Amongst the trends and hypes of 2014, do not let this exquisite, ambitious gem go ignored.


Michael A Grammar - Michael A Grammar

Named after a song from Broadcast’s brittle, brilliant Tender Buttons, one could be forgiven for expecting them to share their taste in haunted, abstract electronica, or maybe the jangling psych-rock of modern disciples like Melody’s Echo Chamber. Instead though, their debut album finds the band digging into the dark side of Britpop – think the most bummed-out Suede songs, Verve before the definitive article – and emerging with a clutch of languorous indie daydreams. At over an hour, the album’s bagginess doesn’t do the band any favours, and faster songs like Susannah do them no favours, but when it works, as on the nocturnal leads of King & Barnes and Monday, there’s plenty for the bedsit pop voyeur to enjoy here.


Live Review

Hyde & Beast, Barry Hyde
Cluny 2 (24/07/14)

Photograph by Ian West.

It’s a family affair down here tonight: having teased a mystery special guest for the gig, the warm-up for Hyde & Beast turns out to be a solo appearance from brother Barry Hyde. Sat behind a piano for the duration, he quickly demonstrates a dramatic technique and a desire to wring the most out of his new toy. Some new material is aired that pushes his song-writing into new compositional and emotional, even if it is hampered slightly by an excess of energy and exclamation. When he launches into covers of early Tom Waits number Lonely and Prince’s Sometimes it Snows in April however, the fortissimo fades and the potential of this new direction becomes evident.
Hyde & Beast might be the child of David Hyde and Neil Bassett, but on tonight’s showing they’ve swelled into a six-piece band with extra accompaniment from a trio of brass players to fill up any remaining space in a crammed Cluny 2 with sound. Even with this entire armoury though, they’re far from excessive: Hyde & Beast’s songs are too direct, too in love with the sounds of 70s radio and classic guitar pop to get dragged down with bloat. The songs from their debut still sparkle – a burst of Pictures in the Sky near the start gets the crowd roaring with approval – while selections from their new album Keep Moving showcase a heightened glam influence, a trace of Bolan boogie running through the title track that sounds tailor-made for a sweaty night like this.

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