Listen: La Fete Triste / The Harrow – Giant / Axis

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Haunting is the first word that comes to mind when La Fete Triste and The Harrow join forces, releasing a split together with the title “Giant / Axis“. The solo-project La Fete Triste is the enigmatic and sorrowful new-wave project by Gabriel Brero, one of the men involved with aufnahme + wiedergabe, based out of Berlin (now in Hamburg). His twisted synthesizer and drum-machine-driven project derive inspiration out of both minimal synth and post-punk, coating his arms with a new-wave overlay that deliver the greatest sadness with melancholia at the middle, together with melodies that will ensnare you imminently. Add to that a guitar with concrete rhythms that adds a touch of your own dismay in the mix. Before this release, he had put out a single called “Lèvres Froides“, and he also did a split-release together with Lebanon Hanover, titled “Lebanon Hanover / La Fete Triste” where four tracks were put out. A lot of people have apparently been longing for new material for quite a while, three years to be exact. Together with The Harrow, he delves into this split-release with the track “Giant“. An at first ballad-esque track which soars through the landscape of sound with a post-punk sound with an almost anthemic touch to it. The mournful and depressive vocals with a German intonation at the end makes it a lot more impressive, because it builds up to a magnificent track because of that. An interesting anecdote is that Justin Stephens (Passion Play) is doing back-up vocals on this track, he’s produced and mixed it as well.

The Harrow, on the other hand, had delivered their first official self-titled debut on the now defunct label Function Operate last year. Even though some of their sound isn’t that emotive for me to begin with, I must say that I am impressed when I hear “Axis“, a track which breathes the otherwise so scarcely atmosphere that had been lacking before. It’s got more warmth than the earlier release of theirs, and to add insult to injury – Vanessa Irena‘s vocals attract you to their post-punk sound even more, as she adds another dimension to an otherwise good track. Making it even greater. The Harrow have been interesting in several ways before, but they haven’t really made anything that have been as great as this. Here, they show their true potential as craftsmen. Bringing their music to a whole other level together with their minimal approach to post-punk, with goth undertones that make you take it in even more. Everything is emotionless, but at the same time very emotive. A good paradox to be written upon their release as it is. Looking forward to hearing more of this kind of sound, in future releases. An interesting sway into the right direction. Stream both tracks down below and wait until you can buy the physical edition on vinyl on the 18th of May on aufnahme+wiedergabe.

Interview with Michael B. Wood of The Anxiety Of Love!

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The Anxiety Of Love, oh how they are undiscovered. They might wish to remain that way, but in this shrouded cloud of mystery – you find a great dose of melancholy, but on a whole other level. They are compromised of Michael, who’s got a history of being in different interesting bands, like Joan Of Arc Family – for example. He’s also the singer of this band, alongside Paul who play the guitar have been in Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Sailor on the bass guitar is in Clockwork Alters, and Solomon is their household drum-machine. Together with the occasional visit of Tobias, who seem to be floating around in a void. Every single one of these members have been involved in one band or another. They’ve earlier released a bunch of songs by themselves, but more recently, they’ve gotten a 7¨ released by Tujunga Flats, and will have another 7¨ out on Peripheral Minimal later on in Autumn. With that said, they’ve recently mailed out their self-released CDr bootleg titled “Soap In The Blood“. So one can say that they’ve got a lot going for them right now. I would consider them to be unique in many ways, which is why I’m even remotely interested in them in the first place. Michael B. Wood of the band contacted me and all we ended up with was this beautifully melancholic interview. He talks about life-changing incidents, the band itself, how they cope with their melancholy, what their melancholy means, the importance of silence, how alike Lebanon Hanover and they are – and much more. Read and weep.

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Stream: Lebanon Hanover – Tomb For Two

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A minute ago, Lebanon Hanover finally announced that you can buy their album digital and stream every track on it. Much to the joy of you misanthropes out there, because they have another jackhammer they’d love to hit you with. Existential questions plague them, within the realm for their suggestive and subliminal assault on our minds. Blending together the German language with the British, making it a dark field-trip for every European. Their earlier content have been even more miniscule, whilst they add a whole other dampened atmosphere with the minimal wave – which is used to broaden the landscape. Even though their mission is to DE-construct, it feels like they re-construct much of our Faustian soul. Mind you, this should not be considered to be a review, but rather an insight for myself and others to contemplate what this means to us. Rather; our interpretation of their words, when contrasted with the musical landscape they so carefully map out. Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline embody a metamorphosis of feelings that contrast each other. On one hand, there’s the gravely melancholic and cynical view which they present to us through their barren landscapes, but on the other hand – there’s a world of beauty laden beneath the thorns in their side. Larissa manages to embody the dismay of how you fail to even, in the slightest, change the ingrained minds and thoughts of others. With her unengaged – yet engaged – voice of disgruntlement. Re-imagining another world through harsh emotions, hoping that there will actually be something worth to grasp on to, for their life. Tomb For Two is clearly their most outspoken work up to date, even though their outspokenness have been with them since they began, they’re maturing for each step they take. Or maybe it’s simply a decoy, to trick us all. Well, the laugh’s on you, not them. Stream their whole album down below and don’t hesitate to buy a physical copy from Fabrika Records, or download the whole deal for eight euros if you’re that type.

Premiere: Lebanon Hanover – Hall of Ice [Musicvideo]

Lebanon Hanover are releasing a new album today, titled “Tomb For Two“. The video itself is of the track “Hall of Ice“, which is a track taken from their album which is released today. Diego Barrera of Celestial Twins Production have directed this music-video, but he’s also the art director and he’s written it. Accompanied by assistant director Julieta Triangular, featuring Camilo Acosta, Camilo Arévalo and Michel Beauvais. Last but not least, it was edited by Adria Ghiralt. The release itself can be obtained on Fabrika Records, so if you like what you’re hearing, you can buy it over here. It’s in the vein of what Lebanon Hanover have pulled off earlier, but there’s a certain melodic vibe that haven’t been around in their earlier releases. So, there’s still some hope left for us. You can sense the hopefulness between the lines of the melancholic strikes of post-punk and cold wave. Another interesting thing is the sincere output of both English and German in the same song. It makes the whole landscape even more dismayed, as if this is the communique from Lebanon Hanover to the rest of the world. I can understand the pain they experience, since the world we’re living in isn’t really the epitome of civilization. A fighting spirit against the norms created by people in society. The video itself has a representation and is meant to portray the following:

This video is presented as a confrontation, a symbolic representation of a struggle, criticizing the role of religious images (primarily christian), which serves to indoctrinate us into accepting the norms, educating us to accept corrupted society values, employing blame (pointing to each other), ideological superiority, in which “sin” is not understood like a principle of perfection {as explained by Oscar Wilde while in prison).

On the other hand, this video is also an ode to cultural universality as a principle of tolerance, an ode to the connection with femininity and eroticism, to Rebis {The Hermetic Androgyne}.

Catharsis (removal of thorns), build revolutionary mechanisms by means of opening the mind and fighting against social conditioning.

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Review: Lebanon Hanover – Gallowdance

2824239920-1Lebanon Hanover have a new release, freshly cut and mixed, ready for us on their table. Catering to our strengths and weaknesses, with the first track “Gallowdance” they blend the best minimalism with the overtly dark hemorrhage of cold wave nostalgia. Firstly covering our hands in mud, as you try to reach into their world with your hand. Melancholia is strong in this world, it’s also a conjuration from the abhorrent use of shady riffs and a continuous baseline that rips through the cold gaze of yesteryear. Whilst dancing in a landscape so barren one could almost point a finger in any direction and still see no structures in the near midst, see no hope in front of the two eyes steadily fixating themselves upon what have been. It’s no more and the usage of the Anglo-Saxon language and the German fluttered whispers, you’re on a multidimensional trip, apt for the misanthrope of modernity. One layer of language, to chalk the empty souls and two layers of both minimalism and suggestiveness – what kind of messages are being projected? You can only tell, with fluency in each language, what is what and which is which. It feels like you’re slowly moving out of each layer, stripped of your own security and unmasked in front of the naysayers. Take one step to the side, hear their vocals sip through the cracks of each hole in the house. Feel them coming closer. Everything seems to be what it isn’t, as Lebanon Hanover is the only ones with the cure in a near proximity, you’ll feel hopelessness indulging you and itself. Dissolving into a unity of both man and despair.

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Mini-Harvesting #1: You’re making me Peter Out!

This is a mini-harvesting for all you harvesters out there that haven’t gotten your daily doses. I promise to make this a continual experience for you all, but until I’m done with the main harvest, you’ll have to enjoy the mini-harvest instead. There’s a lot of these coming your way too and this is the first edition of the mini-series that I will be doing on a regular basis. In this edition you’ll get this: The Peter Out Wave and Monument. Both released by the eminent Peter Out Records, which you should check out if you have the time, they release some good stuff.

VA – The Peter Out Wave

An all-out flirt with the darker sounds. Starting out with The Death Notes and their song “In The Spider’s Web“, which has a perfect intro that surely phases you into their post-punk sound. Their combination of soulful indie-rock sounds and goth makes this feel like a nostalgic piece with their own touch to it. But the overtly expressed alternative rock sound is as prevalent as the other genres they’ve combined. Somehow the singer seems to epitomize the great about all genres and the good sounding goth-loving that would be preferred. With a hard edge to their baseline and an almost outright contemporary drumming, which brings together the unconventionality and fuels the sound-scapes splendor and greatness even more. Even though the singer sounds pretty remote from what they’re trying to convey, I must say that I appreciate her addition to it. It feels a little bit like they’re trying to cope with the great sound of early Witching Hour but at the same time they’re scratching on the walls of The Pixies. Combine that, and you’ve got something to strive for. The fact that the singer is so far away, but so close from anything they’re doing, makes this a great song to listen to and really enhances the listening process even more.

As I move further into the compilation, there’s a band called Der Noir and their song is called “Desire“. They’ve got a whole other combination going on, moving from pop to the wonders of cold wave. Feeling like the melodies entwine with each other and the chorus, which is an experience that needed to be felt. With their own take on the minimalistic drum-machine, riffing away into oblivion but at the same time containing the catchy pop-melodies and rhythms that makes the whole sound-scape breathe and open up itself to the listener. Bringing together the darker elements of the mix and fusing it with the angelic synth and pop-vocals of Manuele Frau. It feels like they’ve conveyed the catchiness of the “new-wave” of cold wave sounds that are out there. Besides having the almost impersonal edge of cold wave brutality, lightened up with a fuse of the sphere that makes that kind of music and the more lighter bedroom pop side of it. Pretty unconventional, but it works for me. Yet another genre that had to prove itself in combination with my favorite cold wave, which it did and got me even more hooked.

Let’s move on to the next song, which is by Agent Side Grinder and it’s called “Telefunk“. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them in this shape or form ever, which makes this even more interesting. The harsh post-punk vibes are melted together in a steel factory filled with the minimalism of electronic body music and including the minimalistic wave music in the middle of it. There are lots of interesting things going on, like short-circuited synths and a trembling bass. All fitted with an arpeggio synth that phases into the sound-scape like no tomorrow, which also makes the rhythms feel more sinister. Also, the desperation in the vocalists voice makes me feel like the visual picture of this is based in a factory, where they continually pluck the bad elements out of this mix and melt the other together. Both a visually enhancing and musically sinister experience of the highest degree.

Now we’ve come a little bit lower on the steps, time to introduce Monument and their song “Teeth and Tails“. Like a playful mix of the most eclectic vibes you could ever find in a post-punk haven. Together with some almost naive synths and an interesting singer, within a minimalistic sound-scape filled to the brink with both distortion and the generic post-punk bass you’d find in any goth song of the last century. Since everyone seems to want to compare anything even remotely “gothic” with Siouxsie, I’ll have to say that this isn’t the case. It’s more of the eclectic combination of Skeletal Family‘s singer Anne-Marie Hurst and the strong but delightfully dark voice of Eveghost from Christ vs. Warhol. Even though there are some uninteresting moments within this song, I must say that they’ve done a great load of work on it. Because at the same time, there are some really interesting passages. At all times, there’s always something dark lurking behind the next corner. The lyrical content is also intriguing and makes me press my headphones closer to the ears, just to get the joy of hearing the lyrics. Since this song is a wee bit down-tempo, we’re going to bring this to a closure.

Time for the next song by The Gaa Gaa’s which is titled as “Hypnoti(z)ed“. With a great deal of wailing and a tempo that cannot be disliked, these up-tempo knights of the dark seem to have found some elements from dark cabaret and a lot from the post-punk sphere. There’s also some goth rock involved in this mix and the sinister sound of the wailing singer, with overtly ridiculous throwback 70’s sound in the sound-scape, you just can’t dismiss them. I also love the eclectic climax which is noticed further into the song, but in the meanwhile I’m traveling on catchy riffs and in melancholic realms. Add a little bit too much fuzz and you’ve got this band summarized with fewer sentences. No, I admit, that was a little bit too cruel of me. I love the fuzz that’s been added to the vocals when he reaches a climax even I can’t ignore, and you shouldn’t even walk in my shoes. Listen to this and feel at home, that is if you like it on the darker edge of things but with some familiarity from older times.

Time has come for the death-rockers whom go by the name of Belgrado, and their song “Clockwise“. They’ve tried to make the traditional death-rock sound their kind of thing, blended with heavy rock-influences. But they’re not the kind of band that just copies, no, they’ve got their own thing going. It’s by all means the most traditional thing I’ve heard on this compilation so far. The almost naive but delicate sound of the singer’s voice as the up-tempo washes me away with the sheer speed of it, makes this more enjoyable to listen to. A combination of the down-tempo elements and the up-tempo that create a moving rock that grows bigger the further in you get. Take all the traditional death-rock and fuse it together with the uniquely sounding Belgrado and you’ve had your dose of today. Perforating the shell between traditionalists and newcomers, which means; not dividing but uniting.

Now we’re heading into other territory, as we step into the band Wieze Fabryk and listen to their song “Poczucie Zagrozenia“, which I would say is polish. The singer is wonderfully eclectic and I love when a band sing in their own language, since it makes things a little bit more freaky than it would’ve been otherwise. The English language is pretty good for either death-rock or goth-rock, but I must say that they’ve got a contender and they’re called Wieze Fabryk. At times it feels like the singer went into the wrong studio, since he packs a punch like the Oi-Punk guys with a lot of stomach, but it’s useful in this sound-scape too. He gives everything and the sound-scape forms after the shape of his vocal chords, it seems. Pretty good song overall but the vocalist is definitely the man that keeps you listening to the song, the sound-scape feels secondary without him.

Since we’ve come through the thick of the almost non-electronic sphere of this compilation, we’ve arrived at the more electronic one. The band Led Er Est shows off their song “Lonesome XOXO“, which would be the epitome of naive. With a minimal wave kind of thing going on, the singer is eclectic but at the same time utterly naive. It feels like the music is his stepping stones and he’s afraid of stepping wrong. There is a sense of melancholy to it, it feels like he’s going to take the same steps for an eternity. At times it feels like I’ve taken the time-machine back to the 80’s quirky minimal wave, but with a more underground touch of course. They’ve got all those qualities and a little bit more, but it feels a little bit ridiculous at times. However, the vocalist is doing his own thing and for that I must applaud him. Quite an interesting song if you count that factor out of the music.

Which makes us delve even further into this sphere, with the band Naked On The Vauge and their song “Circling Eyes“. An experimental dose of fractionated minimalistic wave, covered with some industrial over it. Featuring a heavy bass and some really scary samples, combining the lighter sense of the sound-scape with the bombastic. Not really my type of thing when everything comes around, but it’s pretty intriguing with all the experimentalism going on around me. Feels like my chopper is going down and something else besides a rescuing-crew has found me. Which could be translated into the fact that the sound-scape is provocative at hand, making it feel like its fighting for its own survival when it comes down to business. Like taking its last breath and trying to survive on artificial life-support. Don’t know if I should say that it’s malplaced, but every compilation need its experimental dose of the day.

Leading me into the band Dr Arthur Krase and their song “Deported Soul Deprivation“. A remotely sounding and heavy path of quirky, but menacing industrial. The theme of this song seems to be insanity, which they’ve managed to pull out with excellence. At times, the singer sounds a little bit like Andrew Eldritch, almost copying his barytone on the spot. But with a whole other edge to it, a detached but at the same time personal voicing. The edgy drums are combined with a somewhat quirky synth and a minimalistic approach when it comes to the singing. With a drooping and hopelessness to be found within the sound-scape, as if they’ve given up on everything. As the song fades out, I’m reminded about how fragile the human mind can be.

This takes me to whole other realms as I tune out and tune in for the band Lost Tribe and their song “Forever“. A song which could be perfectly played in a catacomb, far beneath the premises of the earth and cities as whole. It also marks the shift from the more electronic to the non-electronic and more death-rock/goth rock oriented music. Once again, I’m stomping my feet to an overtly distorted and interesting sound-scape where there’s loads of things going on. Even though the singing might not be my cup of tea, it quickly develops into something obscene. Hinting to an even more punk-rock influenced sound-scape as a whole. Caressing the earlier death-rock influences and making it more punk and even more up-tempo than some of the more delicate sounds I’ve heard earlier from other musicians on this album. A great song overall, but there’s a lot of repetitive elements, which can be charming at a low frequency. I guess we’re not completely through with the electronica, since the band Linea Aspera continues along that path with the song “Detachment“. I must say that it sounds like a combination of the slimewave from Seacrypt, but at the same time the angelic feeling I get from the wonderful Xiu Xiu. With a hectic and up-tempo sound clashing in between the singer’s sincerity. Like a minimalistic wave song gone berserk on so many levels, conjuring one of the most catchy sound-scape but at the same time taking a little bit of my own focus from the singer’s modesty. Continually paving its way through with a spastic feeling to it, which I feel doesn’t really match the singer that well. But at times, when both collide, there’s always a great feeling coming out of it. Pretty good song, repetitive and packs a lighter punch – but still makes it in my book. Even though it has to drag itself over here.

Next up is the band Long Bone Trio with their song “Peek-a-Boo Widow“, which amounts to a great degree of ridiculousness. I don’t know if they’ve attempted to do a psychedelic rock song or if they’ve tried something else. This is probably the weirdest song I’ve heard on this album so far, but at times it can be catchy and actually give something. Only thing I don’t like is the weird lo-fi sound-scape, the singer and the weird lyrical content. Amidst all of this, I must say that something about it is catchy. There’s always something in me that can’t take this seriously for some reason, even though it should be pretty obvious by now if you’ve listened to it. However, I’m fascinated by both the weird sense of the sound-scape and the lo-fi sound-scape quietly making itself heard. So, let’s move on to the band Joy/Disaster and their song “Suicide“. I thought for a second that this would be Joy Division, but I needed to adjust my eyesight and found out that it wasn’t the case. I’ll have to say that this song is one of the least intriguing songs on this album, there’s something so basic about it and the singer is overdoing his singing at times. Like a pop-song trying to be something else then it should be, trying to move into post-punk territory and claim to be something it isn’t. Only good thing about this song is the potential it could’ve had, or the potential it shows sometimes when you listen through it. But I really didn’t like it and there was a missing sense of personality, nothing really special about it. The singer had some potential in him but squabbled it away in the end.

We’re heading on to the Swedish sphere, or yeah, one of the few Swedish bands on this compilation. Their band is called Svarta Hundar and their song is “Mörkt Vatten“. Actually reminds me of one of the punk-bands I had on this blog a while ago, their name is The Dead, and this is their counterpart. At least when it comes to the punk-rock vibe this song gives me, and it also reminds me of the old school new-wave/post-punk bands from Sweden. When it comes to the singing and the sound-scape as a whole, they have some kind of 80’s sound incorporated within the mix. They have some of the old-school Reeperbahn feeling to it, which would make them a new-school variation on Nürnberg 47 (the old name of Reeperbahn). I think they have the same ambitions and have learned to express them well, together with the post-punk edginess and the old meets the new. So there’s a little bit of a throwback sounding, moody punk vibe to this band and almost borderline goth at times. The rhythms and melodies are excellent, the band is unique in the sense that the formula they’re concocting haven’t been tried successfully for a while. I like their own personal touch to it too, it makes it stay afloat so they don’t drown in nonsensical nostalgia.

So now it’s time for some more electronica, in the shape of the band Lebanon Hanover and their song “Fuck The Future“. Which is quite a German way of saying: fuck off, I don’t want to live in this world. The drunken singing and the continual stomping of the electronic elements are a perfect catalyst for the depressing lyrics. With a lot of focus on reverb, minimalism and sampling, combined with the awkwardness of the sound-scape as a whole, they manage to create a dimension that I, myself, wouldn’t even step into with one toe. A scary reminder of how things are and how the future isn’t looking that nice to begin with. Giving me a shitload of angst while listening to it, which is probably what they tried to purvey with the music. A stalemate between deciding how things should be yourself and the force-fed nothingness of total apathy. Moving to the last song on the album which is created by the band M!R!M and is called “O-Dio“. It’s a strange symbiosis between punk and synth, a strange romance between the two of those. Stressing on the same level as the track before this one, but keeping it up-tempo and making it a fairly interesting endeavor. Almost reminds me of the seriousness in KaS Product and the total anarchy of Atari Teenage Riot. Instead, they’re stepping stone between regular punk and the post-punk with a driven baseline that is distorted beyond imagination. Delving into an almost listenable musical creature which is in between unmistakeable noise and catchy synth-punk.

Overall, I think this compilation is well worth to buy. There’s something for everybody and I believe there’s a huge variation of both underground and more well-known bands. So head over to their bandcamp and order the physical CD for 15 euros.

Monument – Teeth & Tails 10¨

An interesting release from 2010 which borders on goth rock and finds itself with post-punk. Starting off with the first song on this record, which is titled as “Jennifer“. It starts off in a great fashion and delves within both spheres of post-punk and goth rock, however, I think the singer is on the border of being ridiculously close to the generic symphonic metal bands when it comes to singing. Even though she strays away from this further into the song, I hear a hint of it anyway and that is basically what annoys me a little bit. But I like how the drum-machine sounding beats converge into the riffs and the singer’s ambitions of sounding a little bit like the more traditional death-rock and goth bands. She doesn’t make it all that way up, but she picks off a little bit on the scale that could potentially take her there. It seems like this is some kind of almost pop-oriented version of the traditional sound, or at least an offspring that is running in that particular direction. However, the sound-scape is getting held up by the slowly-paced baseline which fills up the rifts that can be heard. They have a pretty long way to go, but I can’t say that this song didn’t intrigue me, because then I would be lying. But there’s a lot of ground to be gained before they’re on the top of the hill.

In the next song “Drenched In Blood“, this ambition can be heard even more. They’re trying to be something they cannot accomplish just yet. It actually feels like she’s deliberately trying to sound like Siouxsie, instead of making her own use of the influences she’s taken from her. It feels pretty impersonal to say the least and there’s a rift that’s opening, getting wider and wider. Some of the sounds in the sound-scape sound like they’re heading the “right” way at times, but there’s a lack of something uniquely defining in this song. I mean, they’ve got everything going for them and the sound itself is pretty unconventional, but there’s something about the sound-scape that turns me off. It’s like they’re trying to combine elements that don’t belong within goth rock and that they’re leaning more to the alternative rock side of it. Which I don’t like as much, since I think it sounds too basic for the average listening experience of the traditional goth rock sound. But hey, the further in you get into this song, the more potential they have of turning the whole ship around. So there’s not only negativity involved when I listen to this song, they’ve actually got some potential that could be developed into another sphere. There are lots of influences that collapse and go for each other head on, which makes it pretty ghastly at times.

Last songTeeth & Tails” is a more moving piece, where they show how they want it to be. This is how they sound when they’ve realized the potential they’ve got. It’s not as up-tempo as the other songs, but it lacks the more mainstream kind of thing that goes on in the other songs. Here, the elements are on the right path with each other, which form a minimalistic head that paves the way through the different riffing and the added effects. I also like the singer a lot more here, since her voice reeks of sincerity and the lyrical content is up to par with the sound-scape as a whole. Also, the sound-scape folds together both the traditional sounds of older bands an the more new sound which have clear influences from other bands. So there are many reasons for them not to head on to this path, since this seems to be the path that fits them the best. Until they manage to get the rhythms and sinister melodies of this song, they’re unfortunately not heading anywhere. Even though I’ve already said this, the album might attract the alternative rock fans more than anything else. Because I don’t think they’ve managed to convey the sound they want, it feels like they’re still searching.

You should buy this album from their bandcamp if you’re interested in that side of the coin. Either buy the digital download version or the physical limited edition 10¨ vinyl.