“205” – ‘The Bavarian Druglords’ & “Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony” – ‘Maybeshewill’
‘Highly Evolved’ seems to be busier than ever, and with a record-breaking thousand-plus hits on our blog in April this year, I can safely assume both I and my partner are more than just a little ‘chuffed’. Yes, I’d like to congratulate and thank all those peoples out there who have read – and are hopefully continuing to read – our blog, the reviews, and are supporting the artists as we aim to do!
We’re getting out there, guys, little by little; baby steps…
[wipes tear from eye]
… “Yes, and I’d like to thank my – my – my producer, and – and my director, Steven Spielberg. You guys have… have just been so great and wonderful to me. The whole team, the cast production crew. Steven, I’d just like to say…”
[music rolls in the background, Denzel Washington and four other ‘secret-service’ individuals come to apprehend the gatecrashing Enantiomorphic God. Struggles. Ooooh, and there goes Washington…]
“… No, No, please! I haven’t finished my speech…”
[…. another pause…]
Gatecrashing this weeks review, some very interesting music, peoples. I’ve got an ‘entirely-new-genre’ to discuss, as I introduce ‘The Bavarian Druglords’ and their unholy crusade “205”, an optimistic album that should open all the doors, bar none. And a recent discovery, lurking in the shadows, and should be somewhat well-known to dedicated fans, ‘Maybeshewill’s’ “Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony”, and we see the limitations I place on heavy music and how these guys have totally overcome them…
Well, when I talk about “205”, I really do mean ‘crusade’. These guys will have you rolling on their screeching bandwagon whether you like it or not. You’ll find you just can’t help yourself – like Krispy Kremes; always reaching for more. Comprised of just three members, and I’ll quote from their site: “syed druglord [soul], night train [drums], bassassin [bass]”. Originally from Detroit, these guys relocated to Brooklyn, NYC, and have just released their first full-length feature album, appearing on Psychedelica Volume 1 – a compilation mix – whilst releasing three singles in the meanwhile. They might not have much experience under the belt when it comes to album-numbers, but they’ve certainly blasted onto that ‘music-forefront’ and made themselves right at home. This promising album is not only a fantastic play-through – from start to finish, one delectable song after another – but has the potential to produce new, fresh, exciting music that is going to attract thousands of listeners. If my reviews are any help to these guys, then all the better!
When I spoke previous about some ‘genre-breaking’ stuff, I really do mean it. Some might call it Lo-Fi meets Rock, and I first came across this odd-couple when I introduced Michael Hodder to a band called ‘Artefacts For Space Travel’. There are some similarities between “205” and this, in that I’ve coined the term “Hollow Rock” to replace the somewhat systemic usage of Lo-Fi in relation to rock/indie – it just doesn’t seem appropriate.
Okay, definition of Hollow Rock? I’ve just given you two examples, and it’s difficult to explain in great detail by what I mean exactly. It’s rock that sounds far-away almost, hence the automatic usage of Lo-Fi. But it’s missing – in a good way – the elements that would just pigeonhole it into rock. It is its own, I believe, and is perhaps accidental and not intentional – I assume this album might lose this fantastic quality if they played in a small, contained room – or even live. But there you have it, more reason for you to get out there and find ‘The Bavarian Druglords’.
You’ll find that ‘TBD’ are heavy users of guitar, and quite frequently will have it clawing away in the background behind the vocals, shifting to take lead. Their riffs are unique, and the solo’s are absolutely brilliant. I know after my first play-through, “Lemonade City” – “205’s” opener – had me air-guitar-ing non-stop at [0:57]. Wow, was I tripping. “Phantom Fifteen” follows this with some infectious rhythm, and just that right amount of guitar. I haven’t mentioned the vocals, which seem to idle in the background, appearing to somewhat reinforce the music, rather than the other way round. Nonetheless, interesting in itself – some bands fail, others prosper at this endeavour. The “… hiss… hiss…” sound of the end of his ‘S‘s’ add to the strange quality that is “205”. It is nostalgically-European, although the bands origins are not. Song after song, “Monza”, “Goldsoul”…
I have to admit, I dislike nothing “205” has to offer.
Their subtle use of synth, most prominent in “Intercooler”, is mastery – it isn’t overdone, and by muting the guitar, the synth is free to dance about. ‘TBD’ seem willing to allow various instruments to take the lead, or substitute, or reinforce, and experiment. Their combinations are in my eyes successful. “37c Sniper” has to be the most memorable, however. The guitar creeps in suddenly – I know, bad usage of metaphor, but that’s how it feels. Slithers, maybe? Yes, that works too. It’s easy to imagine some ‘ganster-look-a-like’ holding a weapon, strolling across some street, or field, or whatever, off to murder – calm, sophisticated. There is the raw guitar keeping rhythm with the throbbing beat in the background, and occasionally a post-rock-influenced guitar will jump in intermittently. At [3:07], guitar leaps to an ambitious solo, and ‘seals-the-deal’, so to speak.
What else can I say? This album is a fantastic example of music me and my partner are endeavouring to find, day-in, day-out, week after week. It plays with those ‘layers’ I keep jabbering on about, and is on a whole, wonderful. Five outta five Krispy Kremes, five outta five stars, ten out of ten. “205” does it for me, and is so far the best I’ve seen all year. Great effort, guys. Worth every penny…
Check out their site at: http://www.myspace.com/thebavariandruglords
I think I read somewhere, when I was taking a look at these guys, that someone shoved these guys into progressive-rock. But I’m not absolutely sure, so don’t hold me to that. They’re definitely rock, actually, heavy rock is more appropriate. Highly-instrumental, ‘MSW’ utilise the human voice – more specfically human-dialogue – as an instrument in itself really, rather than as something to piece music around. And that’s probably earned them a place in post-rock that is a little overrated. These guys are from Europe, Leicester in the UK, and I quote “… [are] characterized by the use of electronic elements alongside more traditional ‘rock’…” Formed by guitarists ‘Robin Southby’ and ‘John Helps’, during university: they released their first album, independantly, called “Japanese Spy Transcript” following their union in ’05, in ’06. Adding to their ensemble, ‘Tanya Byrne’ and ‘Lawrie Malen’, on bass and drums, respectively.
So, now that the details are out and over with, I’ll start by saying that their album seems just as promising as “205”, but not quite as epic. Think of ‘Mogwai’s’ “Batcat”, the heavy-elements present within its overtone, and then think of that on steroids for eight tracks and you’ll find yourself starring at “Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony”, “S.W.H.F.P.H.” for short…
“SWHFPH” are willing to juxtapose heavy and soft, both in their music and with their instruments. A quite timid piano swims through the void of guitar and percussion occasionally, or some post-rock synth will appear here and there, to help take that sharp edge away from their music. It is somewhat deafening at times, but never quite unbearable – I do love a good heavy track when I can make out separate instruments, and loathe it when all I here is some guitar being tortured and some drum being bludgeoned. So on a whole, “SWHFPH” manage not to overstep this boundary, and keep within their surprising limitations to create a substantial eight-track album, full of body.
“You Can’t Shake Hands With A Clenched Fist”, the opener, begins with percussion, and a monumental guitar/bass strum. Then as these return, they build in awesome power to a fantastic crescendo that is characteristically them. It is undescribable, the power and the impact that these instruments can have – they sound like a thousand bands clashing together as one. Whereas this, compared with “Co-Conspirators” following the first, we have piano, soft percussion, and tinny-guitar, building here and there. And, more importantly, that instrumental-dialogue. And I’ve been reading into that too: sourced from various cult-followed films that I have yet to identify [you might have better luck]. They are interesting in themselves, and I commend the efforts of their usage – very appropriate.
So if you take in all I’ve been talking about, “SWHFPH” is generally an album of magnificent, epic guitar, strong bass, strong percussion, delicate piano, and potential. I only just came across it and have been listening to it, for say, a week, but already I’m encompassed in this album. It might not look it, but there’s about an hour’s worth here that should leave you comfortable. I’m going to be generous and give it four outta five Krispy Kremes, it’s a nice tag-along with “205”, and both are worth your while.
“What was that?”
“You only just figured out I was talking about the Oscar nominations when I mentioned something about a speech and Denzel Washinton??? And it took you this long to find out? Jeez…”
And by the way, peoples – Enan-Alex is my user on www.last.fm, so check me out, shout me if you’ve got some do’s and don’t’s, or if you want me to follow up on anything at all. I’ve only just joined, so the music collection is still small…
The Enantiomorphic God