NEW RELEASE REVIEW – PINK NARCISSUS ‘BLOCK YOUR EARS / SHIELD YOUR EYES’
Days / Come Crawling / Masquerade / Doomed / Syphilitic City / Thundercloud
As I become more embroiled in the investigation of ‘new’ music since my involvement with Generate Radio I now find myself pleasantly inundated with recommendations, suggested links and listening requests. This has reached the point where I am finding it hard to remember just exactly how I came to first hear of all new artist contacts.
This is certainly the case with Pink Narcissus; however it was that was first introduced to this band completely escapes me – all I know for sure is that I found myself watching the video for their track ‘Disinfectant’ around two weeks ago. I was so impressed that I tracked down the audio track and played it on my second ‘Drive Time’ show on 21st June. It seemed to be well received and was subsequently played on a couple of other shows, once as a ‘wake up’ track on a ‘Breakfast Show’.
After discovering that track, reading their ‘decription’ on their FaceBook page - “Oh we’re all so fatalistic. Nihilistic, narcissistic. Paint your pretty face in lipstick. Block your ears and shield your eyes,” and with band member names that had me recalling the likes of Rat Scabies, Sid Viscious, and Poly Styrene, I found myself really keen to find out what their newest musical offering would sound like.
At first I had been unable to download the latest release ‘Block Your Ears / Shield Your Eyes’ as i-tunes store was returning a ‘not available’ reply. I have now been able to download and have decided to try to clarify my thoughts about it, given my initial reaction to ‘Disinfectant’. At least one other presenter at Generate Radio appeared to be just as impressed by me with ‘Disinfectant’; would this new selection of tracks be as amazing?
After being ‘blown away’ by ‘Disinfectant’ I suppose it’s understandable that my first listen to the album was a bit of a letdown, particularly as my playlist went directly on to play that track once the tracks had all been played. This simply served to reinforce just how powerful and brilliant it is! Bearing this in mind I returned to give it a few more hearings, perhaps it would be a ‘grower’.
Where ‘Disinfectant’ was an all out assault on the senses, this opening track is a much more tempered affair. It is upbeat and does have an appeal, it rocks its way through a variety of nuances, even incorporating a rather melodic and catchy refrain.
2/ Come Crawling
This is a slower paced number and begins with a hint of menace. The ‘explicit’ tag appears to have been allocated as a resulted of one ‘f’ word used twice. To my mind this word is used in context and isn’t given any undue emphasis. I have no problem with that, in fact I believe that it adds a degree of honesty to the lyrics. Sadly it does mean that I won’t be able to include it in future playlists for my shows – unless a ‘radio edit’. I have a theory about ‘radio edits’ that simply remove the offending word; in cases such as this track, anybody really listening would readily be able to fill in the blank and would inevitably wish that it had been left in – on the other hand somebody who may complain about the word is quite likely not to have being paying to close attention and simply heard the word ‘jumping out at them’ – others who hadn’t really been paying attention may not have noticed at all, one way or another! Well, I seem to have digressed a bit, this is actually a solidly produced and effective track. I am a bit of a sucker for strong drumming and was impressed by the way in which Cookie Allen’s drums took a prominent part in driving the track on.
Paddy Longlegs’ staccato guitar intro gets this track underway. Into the vocal and I was beginning to realise one of the other things that was impressing me was the sound and tone of the voice. Latterly I have begun to despair about (in my opinion) the lack of many interesting and engaging contemporary male vocalists. I seem to be continually coming across brilliant female vocalists producing exciting work, Ollie Spleen’s voice reassures me that there is still hope yet for male vocalists. On successive hearings the complexity, depth and ability became more evident and engaging.
The incessant bass of Cod Riverson helps to move this track along, so far probably the most reminiscant of the power of ‘Disinfectant’. An energetic yet dynamic number that went a long way towards reassuring me that I had made the right decision to give this EP a second chance.
5/ Syphilitic City
With such a title it came as little surprise to note that this track also sported an ‘explicit’ tag. Ollie’s voice is modified by an amount of distortion and guides the listener through a sonic urban landscape, the lyrical imagery definitely adds to the dark atmosphere. Although it’s style is completely different I did find myself thinking that this could be The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’, reworked to account for the different concerns of the 21st century.
This final track again sounded far better after a couple of hearings. The whole collection in fact, had most definitely grown on me. I have a feeling that I may actually have been more positive about ‘Block Your Ears / Shield Your Eyes’ had I not previously heard ‘Disinfectant’. I can certainly see me playing some tracks from this in future shows, and will undoubtedly add the selection to my i-pod for ‘music on the move’.
Video – Pink Narcissus, ‘Disinfectant’