Words: Karl Johnson
‘Janus’ (Blitzcat Records)
Listening to HAAL is like sidestepping through PVC curtains into a cold room, a room that offers an alternate reality. On new single ‘Janus’ the Bristol outfit offer an eerie heaviness played out through electronic signals and a bone crushing beat. Each detailed section of the patchwork, post-rock tapestry offers a different face of the band, which fuses industrial, trip-hop, noise and even a brass cameo. The band play out an apocalyptic scenario in search of their own Eden, the songwriting mirroring the societal anxiety felt by us all through the pandemic. A flowing bass line and monstrous riffs represent destructive tendencies while the more minimalist moments counterbalance HAAL’s glorious builds.
‘This Time Around’ (Practise Music)
It’s hard not to love everything about Maripool’s sound, a self confessed ‘one girl band’ from Natasha Simões. The track’s lo-fi leaning sound and jangling guitar parts shine bright, the lyricism rippling with dark undertones, despite the surface level positivity in the vocal delivery. Out on Practice Music, ‘This Time Again’ juggles buoyant bedroom-pop with tightknit grooves and a journeying guitar sound that subtly touches on a world of psychedelia. Maripool offer company in a world of solitude.
Hailing from Bristol, Bible Club’s second single ‘Ford Capri’ is something of a baptism of fire for the listener. Part marching post-rock builds, part all out fury, the collision of these two worlds arrives in dramatic fashion as the tempo shifts and the four piece descend into an overwhelming garage-rock energy underpinned by a bass line that is so fluid you are compelled to dance. But it doesn’t end there – the track continues to gather pace until ultimately erupting into an instrumental burnout. Coming in at over five minutes, ‘Ford Capri’ plays like a soundtrack to a twenty-first century spaghetti western, but this time the action is played out via doughnuts in a Tesco’s carpark.
Brotherly trio Sister Wanzala have returned with ‘Top Drawer’, a touching indie-cum-dream pop atmosphere complete with soaring vocal melodies and stunningly washed-out guitar tones. The chorus is comprised of a heavenly back and forth vocal combination, verses ooze into choruses as the touching lyricism drips through the track creating a luscious dreamscape of hazy guitar textures and rigid beats. There are undertones of darkness within, but ‘Top Drawer’ swims through it, in an attempt to find the light.