With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

‘Oh Dearism’ – itoldyouiwouldeatyou October 17, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:12 pm
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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s newest writer Tom Ray test drives the new itoldyouiwouldeatyou album. Check out his thoughts on ‘Oh Dearism’ below.

“It’s about Wilfred Owen, King Harold, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Vladislav Surkov. All of these represent real people in my life at various different times. Some of them are me, too.”

 itoldyouiwouldeatyou describe themselves as an Indie-Punk/Emo/Experimental act. I have to confess that ordinarily, the ‘E’ word would be enough to send me running for the hills, but I persevered and found a lot to like with ‘Oh Dearism’, their début album.

Hot on the heels of their February EP, ‘Get Terrified’, ‘Oh Dearism’ is a startlingly diverse record.

Before I talk about the music I’d just like to point out that I really like the album cover, especially the muted blue filter. It looks very much like a modern Shoegaze album. I also really like the lack of capitalisation in both the band’s name, and the song titles. These kinds of small, simple touches really make a band stand out to me.

The opening track, “earl, king, whatever” opens with a church organ playing a morose drone under lyrics inviting someone to a funeral, as a date. You know, like that Peep Show episode but with less humour. Beneath the organ drone, a distorted guitar drone fades in slowly. The whole intro has a grainy, lo-fi texture to it.  The lo-fi vibes fade entirely when the guitar, bass and drums drop in, revealing a crisp, clean, modern production.

Across the following eight tracks, the lo-fi intro to hi-fi song trick is repeated several times, to great effect. The noisy segue between “earl, king, whatever” and “gold rush” is a great example. Or the analogue-sounding synth intro to ‘gathering things together and not dividing them’.

Throughout, eerie synth sounds and syncopated drumming rub comfortably against accomplished, melodic lead guitar and all manner of strange guitar pedal noises, from strange squelches to bitcrushed distortions. These are the sections of the album that I particularly enjoy, when the band really let their hair down and make noise. These sections remind me of a favourite ‘90’s band, Swirlies. Inhabiting the sonic space between Grunge and Shoegaze. I’d be interested to see itoldyouiwouldeatyou take this side of their sound further.

The lyrics tend to deal with issues such as (in their own words); “questions about identity, about love and sexuality, about gender, about morality and responsibility, about the social and political structures which constrain us, and about the fitness of the institutions and systems that underpin modern society to provide us with a world that works for us all.”

So, some pretty heady stuff to wrap your brain around, but I failed to find much depth to their lyrics. maybe I’m too old. I imagine, as a teenager, I’d probably find them a lot more poignant and poetic.

A decent effort for a band way outside my comfort zone.

‘Oh Dearism’ is released 16th November 2018.

In the meantime check out their video for latest single, “gold rush”;

Review written by Tom Ray

 

 

New Junk City – ‘Same Places’ September 28, 2018

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:55 pm
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With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s newest writer Tom Ray posts his first review for the site and it is a rather excellent one!

Read Tom’s take on the new album from Atlanta’s New Junk City below!

“Listen, everyone knows that getting old kind of sucks. Simple tasks in life seem to be more difficult as the days and years go by, and you find yourself trading in record hunting and late night shows at dive bars for utility bills and early morning alarm clocks. The dichotomy of growing older and wiser and maintaining youthful exuberance becomes harder and harder to manage with every trip around the sun.”

 Part of growing older is that you realise, somewhere around your mid-30’s, that you can’t really do the things you used to take for granted anymore. You can’t go out on a Tuesday night and get blind drunk and then wake up fresh as a daisy for work at 7am on Wednesday morning. This is the feeling that melodic Punk outfit New Junk City are attempting to get across on their sophomore album, ‘Same Places’.

There are certain things about New Junk City which instantly endear me to them. I love the fact that they are named after a level on the classic ‘90’s videogame Earthworm Jim. I love the guitar decorated with the phrase “This machine plays power chords” (pictured below).

All of the aches and pains that you develop as you leave your youth behind are explored in forensic detail across these nine high-tempo, anthemic punk tracks. The album opens with a screech of guitar feedback before the pounding drums, rumbling bass and furious power chords of “Useless Friends” come crashing in. Vocalist John Vournakis sings with an earnest determination in a gravelly but melodic voice, somewhere between Billie Joe Armstrong and Dexter Holland. There’s a deep running vein of pop melodies running through the album with some fantastic vocal melodies and accomplished lead guitar work. Musically, “Useless Friends” and “Stay Asleep” bring to mind the accessible snottiness of Dookie era Green Day, while “Losing Side” has a touch of the Beatles or Kinks in its lead guitar melodies. As well as the standard pop punk formula there are moments of surprise here and there. The albums closer, “Nothing Waiting”, starts with megaphone vocals and ends with gloriously unexpected synth melodies.

My personal highlight is the penultimate “In Our Blood”. The closest the album has to a “ballad”. A heavy, downtempo song with clear roots in both grunge and, to a lesser extent, Shoegaze. It culminates in an epic noise jam, saturated with feedback and wildly distorted guitars.

‘Same Places’ was recorded at Standard Electric Recorders in Decatur by Damon Moon. The production is slick and the mastering loud. Like a lot of contemporary albums, it does suffer from a lack of dynamic range, but the strong melodies and accomplished playing ensure an enjoyable listening experience.

Same Places is released on October 12th by Real Ghost Records.

For now, why not check out the fantastic video for the single, “Stay Asleep”.

Writer: Tom Ray

Earthworm Jim goes punk!


 

 

 
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