SCATTERED ASHES Single Review: Dublin goths manifest sonic claustrophobia on debut single “Love Is Not Enough”

© Scattered Ashes, 2021

By Varun Govil

There are two facts that have become undeniable: First, post-punk is back and it’s here to say, and second, the Irish know how to write brilliant guitar music. From the return of My Bloody Valentine to streaming and the dominance of bands like The Murder Capital, Fontaines D.C., and Just Mustard it’s clear that the Isle is unrelenting in its output of groundbreaking artists. With the emergence of gothic quartet SCATTERED ASHES, it seems as though that output is not slowing down anytime soon.

With support from radio legend Steve Lamacq and help in the studio from Dan Doherty (former producer for Fontaines D.C)and Pete Maher (the man behind U2 and more), the Dublin-based band have made it clear that they have all it takes to match the recognition that many of their aforementioned contemporaries obtained. Listening to their debut single “Love Is Not An Option” it becomes easy to see why right from the first chord. Entering the sonic space with a yelping guitar chord that gives way to a playful yet dark bass line, the track makes its presence known. With a bed of light synths and graceful guitars supporting the verses of vocalist Rob Dalton, it’s not long before the cynical and poetic personality of the bands come into full effect.

© Scattered Ashes, 2021

While it’s hard to ignore the heavy influence of Joy Division, Bauhaus, and even Bloc Party at times on the sound, the track is much more than a retelling of post-punk and its countless revivals. Not limiting itself to the reserved performances of the 20th century but also creating an aura of claustrophobia that many bands on the airways fail to capture, SCATTERED ASHES can not be mistaken for anyone but themselves. From the ferocious drumming on the choruses to the triumphant cries and clamouring backing vocals there’s a palpable life to the 3 minutes and 45 seconds of music. Simultaneously, though, the restraint of the guitars and Dalton’s almost spoken voice keep the space tight and in contrast to the pummels of the drums. 

The first track from the band and a prelude to an upcoming three track EP, “Love Is Not An Option” is emblematic of the staying power of all things goth. A powerful reminder to not take my ears away from Ireland, SCATTERED ASHES have made a convincing case on why you should keep tabs on them.

Their recent single is available on all good streaming platforms.

Imiss: Japanese Post-Rock Juggernauts’ New Single “Make Your Call” Wows

 © Imiss, 2021

By Lewis Oxley

Japanese post-rock is one of the sub-genres that can generate many feelings. From excitement to fear, intrigue to confusion, there is no doubt of its power to entice you once you’ve trudged through hours of searching on Spotify. The band, Imiss, are proof that this statement is true on their track ‘Make Your Call’.

The track opens up with a cinematic wall of sound underpinned by intense drums helping create a full-bodied effect. The drums’ synchronous pattern compliments the rather uplifting string section to evoke a large soundscape which is gripping and transient. The band’s utilising of the studio draws on their ability to compose music that draws on the dreamy effects of cinema in particular, the surroundings of their native Japan and its awe-inspiring landscape. 

The awe-inspiring scoundscape demonstrated in the music is matched with the lyrics, which conjure the other side to Japanese life,  the beautiful romanticism keeping Japan an enigma yet to unravel itself. This is expressed through the lyrics: 

Every day, every night / We’ve been drawing / when the sky is filled with stars and rainy days/ Every day, every night/ We’ve been drawing/ ‘cuz we fell in love with our dreams...

These lyrics capture an authentic poetry that resonates with a spiritual quality and the added theme of dreams captures a tranquil state of being while you sink into the shimming soundscape.

This track fills a need for wonder and a lust for life that only atmospheric post-rock can provide. Lets hope Imiss can make post-rock not just big in Japan but around the world.    

Listen to their new single here, and follow their Twitter and Instagram here.

SLAP RASH Single Review: Murderous in its tense, pummeling attitude,“Cimmerian” broadcasts Mancunian SLAP RASH’s defiant personality

© Slap Rash, 2021

By Varun Govil

If someone were to approach me for advice on what the best setup for a band is, a lot of options would come to mind, most of which would probably be probably safe or easy to work with. Though, if I were to say something like a jazz trio, or a four-piece indie band I would undoubtedly feel disingenuous. That is because, and I can say this with a lot of certainty, the objectively best setup for a band is a two-piece noise-rock band. From Hella and Lighting Bolt to Belk and Modern Technology, there’s no lack of data that shows it’s a formula that not only works, but leaves so much room for individuality, experimentation, and attitude to shine through. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that when I encountered the music of Manchester noise-rock siblings SLAP RASH there was an immediate compulsion to engage with their music.

Almost as bold and present as their fully capitalised band-name, the duo’s latest single, “Cimmerian,” knows how to utilise atmosphere to its greatest extent. With its eerie synth-laden intro providing a backdrop for singer and drummer Amelia Lloyd’s authoritative vocals, an immediate sense of tension crawls through you that never fades through the tracks three and a half  minute runtime. Even when bassist Huw Lloyd barrels through with his fuzzed-up, stabbing performance alongside the power of his sister’s confidence behind the drums, SLAP RASH keep up the atmosphere they built at the onset of the track. 

Not letting ego get in the way of their songwriting though, the band are aware that an effective track needs restraint as much as it needs unleashed flurries of sound. As such, while heavy on those moments of raucous noise-rock, the duo wisely know when to stand back and let the sparseness do the talking, as passages of dynamic lows fill the space between furious choruses. The result is an engrossingly exciting addition to the expansive noise-rock canon.

© Slap Rash, 2021

I’m eager to see where the two-piece go from here. I hope like me you’ll be wanting to keep up with the band so you can find them here, here, and here, and listen to them here!