Friday, May 22, 2015

How Sweet Suite Can Be

A Review from Special Guest Troy Turner!

Suite: a set of selected pieces from an opera or musical, arranged to be played as one instrumental work.

The most recent release from this talented Columbia, Missouri trio, New Tongues, is a four-song EP titled Suite and should perhaps be taken at face value: a bona fide suite. These songs flow really well together in order but, regardless, the overall sonic result is textural, tribal, brutal and often beautiful. New Tongues are able wizards of post-hardcore heaviness with an obvious reverence for those great bands in the past who threw down the Noise gauntlet during the 1990's glory days of Amphetamine Reptile and Homestead Records.

"...These nets are here for safety!" 

Opening with "Suicide Nets," you're met with a tribal, Swans-like cut. Highlighting the work of a great rhythm section (Justin Nardy on bass/vocals; Mike Quinn drumming/vocals) in an exceptionally tight anti-dirge; more a plea to the living -- or those who might stay alive courtesy of suicide netting. The heaviness of Shane Johnson's guitars playing (which is great throughout this record) is equal to theseriousness of subject matter. 

Escape Hoods

Captivating instrumental. Grabs you from the jazzy opening, then it seamlessly glides into into an almost hypnotic space that lends positive comparison to the sound of early Don Caballero or Unwound before the pummeling crescendo. Yet another track on which Justin Nardy and Mike Quinn really shine. 

"Guilty on the ground, I'm guilty in the air..."

In the 1990s, the word "drone" was used more (deridingly or not) to describe the sound of many an Indie Rock band. Today, sadly, the term is known more for the collateral damage they -- drones -- inflict in the name of keeping the fight 'over there.' Easy to imagine and commiserate with a young man/woman tasked with being an "air-conditioned Templar" in a never ending Middle Eastern war zone. You'll find that this song genuinely conveys the frustration and anger felt by all who question this suspecpolicy. 

"The saddest sound"

From the opening lilt of "El Condor Pasa," a wee Spaghetti-Western guitar tease, this novel cover of the well-known Simon & Garfunkel nugget soon gets the heavy treatment. Each line is accentuated by a heavy drumbeat; an angular guitar solo morphs into an ambient blast that ends before it has a chance to develop into a 20+ minute, quasi-psychedelic blowout -- which would've been cool, too! 

The saddest sound? Not sure but, no matter what, remember: New Tongues are the hammer and you're the nail, my friend. 

Four songs -- 22-minutes -- isn't long enough. This EP, the follow-up to 2013's We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For is so good, you'll want to put it on loop. 

This pedigreed band -- with Cincinnati kid, Shane Johnson (formerly of Caterpillar Tracks and No Good Heroes) together with Justin Nardy and Mike Quinn (both seasoned veterans of Columbia's hardcore scene) have released an excellent disc just as satisfying as it is short; much more visceral than eviscerating. 

Doubters beware, indeed. 9/10