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- The Soft Walls by The Soft Walls
9/10 Mike Staff review, 20 September 2012
Well this one’s getting off to a weird start. First we get a few moments of Spacemen 3/Moon Duo style repeato fuzz with buried field recordings and then suddenly the same groove is coming out clean, tinny and empty, giving a bit of a Doors feel as some Brian Jonestown-esque vocals are introduced and there’s hypnotic dinky percussion and handclaps and a nifty little bassline. Then ‘Black Cat’ has Joy Division guitars over an insistent indie-kraut backing before ‘Can’t Decide’ takes us into more relaxing realms of metronomically picked guitar twinkle.
There’s plenty of variety in tones here but the general vibes are hypno to the max, particularly effective on Lungfish-meets-Wooden Shjips side-closer ‘Joan’. Flip it and rocker ‘Best If I Go’ sounds like if MB from Hookworms (whose MJ mastered this tape) played bass for Dirty Beaches, flooded with fuzz and reverb and these amazing watery chiming chords, like ‘Guitar Trio’ as interpreted by Vision Fortune, eventually disintegrating into extravagantly draped curtains of celestial fuzz, but no sooner do I think I’ve got a handle on it than we’re in synth drone territory and then a glacial early ‘90s techno beat comes in with echoed girl vocals for a kind of balearic post-punk wash in what I’m assuming is ‘Purple Haze/Purple Rain’, almost like 100% Silk meets Hype Williams vibes, and things go back into Hookwormsy rock out territory again before the tape is out.
I don’t really know where I am with this tape or where this guy’s going to go next but everything on here is totally enjoyable, perhaps all the more so for how esoteric it is. Playful bedroom hypno-weirdpop with an endearing disregard for genre boundaries.
Addendum: I have been informed that there are no girls singing on this record. The vocals do sound quite girly in places though.
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