Noam is a new project from a certain Kentaro Togawa, who you might know from Hopeless Marching Band or The Retail Sectors. Overdramatic features ten tracks of explorative sonics. This is a very affordable CD release: and you even get a postcard thrown in too! Courtesy of the Symbolic Interaction label.
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Looking like a miniature cardboard picture frame with a door, the latest Symbolic Interaction release continues their presentation of music as Graze boxes that you can’t eat. You can try. Noam is a new sonic excursion from Kentaro Togawa, a man whose influence on the label’s output has been lasting but from the sidelines, contributing various bits toward their Silence was Warm compilations. This is a fully fledged instrumental dream-out album, a cloudy coming of age.
The opening track is the kind of guitar-led ambient post rock sound that Hammock have championed, starting with jangles that sound like sighing at the end of a long day (Explosions in the Sky?) before rising to a POWER CLIMAX with a super saturated mix. Some might call it overdramatic. Noam would also do so. He knows it is; he doesn’t care. Throughout Overdramatic you will find standard chord progressions over sparkling or challenging textures - ‘Rosy Retirement’ has a noisy mbv shoegazer feel but with clear melody shining through the fuzz. Drums stomp this fanfare of a track to its inevitable, face melting end. Is that a voice screaming out at the top of its lungs or just a ferociously picked guitar? Is that a jolly hand clap buried deep in there? There’s definitely some nice production choices in here including a mix of natural drums with machines and trailing guitars and synths.
However it is this illusion of inevitability that is the trap of many ‘nice’ post rocker types that have come before Noam. While he doesn’t care about the gratuitous use of dramaticism, many of us listeners have heard the solemn clean guitar beginning build to a distortion/drums noise-out a thousand times over. Luckily, not too much of the album rises to these obvious peaks, spending a lot of the time in guitar shimmer mode which you may recognise from Home Normal’s stuff. On it’s own, the album’s really nice, echoing catharsis through dreaminess turning to shredding, but in context some of it follows a path well trodden. Fuck you, context. Why do you have to always ruin things?
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