Narrow Head - 12th House Rock Music Album Reviews

Narrow Head - 12th House Rock Music Album Reviews
Behind their overt shoegaze and grunge revivalism, the Houston rock band finds careful guitar melodies, sensitive vocal deliveries, and earnest earworms.

They may only have a debut under their belt, but the sepia-toned sludge rockers in Narrow Head have perfected the disaffected pull quote. “I don’t even think I like shoegaze,” frontman Jacob Duarte told the Dallas Observer in July. “I need aggressiveness.” As any passing observer of the grunge genre wars knows, the surest way to pin a label to your band is to vehemently deny affiliation. But even without the half-hearted attempts to reject categorization, the Houston group is practically built from ’90s pastiche—it’s in the bleached hair, the Smashing Pumpkins T-shirts, the passing references to Hum. At first blush, it can seem like Narrow Head are providing a paint-by-numbers guide to their references for the uninitiated; your appreciation of their music will likely correlate with your tolerance for faux film grain and song titles like “Emmadazey.” But the band’s Run for Cover debut, 12th House Rock, manages to surpass the trappings of a Chapterhouse cover record, cobbling impressive hooks and earnest earworms out of Creation Records nostalgia.
Narrow Head manifests the listless ennui of those bygone Brits in a different tenor; where Ride and Slowdive reached for glassy delay and shimmering cymbal hits, guitarist William Menjivar traffics in dense, scorched-earth reverb. The title track opens with a chord progression so heavily processed that it becomes almost indistinguishable from the wailing feedback; “Hard to Swallow” matches that pugnacity with blunt blasts from drummer Carson Wilcox. The screeching, echoing amplifier gain exudes a thick layer of grime that lingers throughout the record, forming a pointed introduction to the slow-burning rhythms of “Crankcase” and a cleanse between the circuitous hypnotism of “Yer’ Song” and the twinkling counter-melodies of “Ponderosa Sun Club.” More than anything, the sounds of plugging in and warming up are an anti-status symbol, a gesture to the band’s slouching nihilism. Despite the album’s brighter moments, like the triumphant guitar solos that open “Stuttering Stanley,” a pervasive darkness seeps through.

Then there’s Duarte’s voice, a wispy whine that bends and molds to the record’s variously downtrodden moods, revealing a surprising range. His opening words on the bridge of “Yer’ Song” are stretched and slowed to a leaden pace, as if tracked underwater. But elsewhere, as on the meandering “Nodding Off” and the comparatively sparse “Wastrel,” his voice can take on an unexpectedly romantic tenor, reaching for gentle, whispered falsettos. Despite the band’s best efforts to affect a sense of disinterested malaise, his default mode—a pitched, nasally resonance—betrays a forthright and vulnerable emotional core. Carried by Duarte’s moody, elongated vowels, tossed-off lyrical cynicism is reinvigorated. It’s one thing to shrug off the meaningless of everyday existence and adopt an outcast mentality; Narrow Head lean into that pessimism with purpose. “Wake me up when you leave,” he sings flatly on “Hard to Swallow,” a line that might otherwise come across as huffy teenage exasperation if not matched with the anxious, shredded screams of its bridge, which imply a despair deeper than passing tedium.

Behind the overt shoegaze and grunge revivalism of 12th House Rock, Narrow Head find a balance of form and function. For every predictably dense riff over lyrics about getting high, there’s a carefully constructed guitar melody, a particularly sensitive vocal delivery, a bright and buoyant bassline. “Evangeline Dream,” the album’s gently warbling closer, exemplifies these reinventions on a classic form. Written about Duarte’s late sister, the song builds layers of guitar noodling and muted drums, its progressions resolving naturally in a minor key evocative of Chris Bell’s melancholic melodies. Duarte’s breathy croon reflects his lyrical fantasies—“Evangeline, she’s a dream/I’m always dreaming so she’s never alone,” he sings, his voice winsome and starry-eyed. It’s a heartfelt moment of earnestness that puts the preceding disillusionment in stark relief. Peeling back the surface-level nostalgia, 12th House Rock, captures a wistfulness that surpasses mere mimicry.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Narrow Head - 12th House Rock Music Album Reviews Narrow Head - 12th House Rock Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, September 14, 2020 Rating:

0 comments:

Post a Comment