Review Summary: "When you are old like we are, sometimes you need to get some things off your chest. This band was started to do just that...let some things out and have fun while doing it." -Rob Moran
Hardcore super group Narrows follows up their not amazing but promising self-titled 7” with New Distances. The band consists of guitarists Jodie Cox(Tropics), Ryan Frederiksen(These Arms Are Snakes/Nineironspitfire), drummer Sam Strothers (Quarantine/Makeout Boys), bassist Rob Moran(Some Girls/Unbroken), and vocalist Dave Verellen(Botch/Roy). If you’re looking for intensely heavy music with breakdowns and blast beats you won’t find it here. New Distances takes a very different and intelligent approach to hardcore.
This album is 9 tracks of angry and repressed music. New Distances starts off with “Chambered” a two minute song that sums up the band’s sound. Dave Verellen has never sounded so angry. The song features a catchy riff and a fast drum beat that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The album then shifts into the song “Sea Witch” which has a more prominent bass line and faster drum beat. The song slows down toward the end and it makes the transition into the instrumental song “A Restoration Effect”.
The instrumental song features a much slower speed than the first two tracks but the guitar keeps you interested and it slowly builds into “I Give You Six Months”. This song starts on a somewhat eerie riff and builds to an angry climax with all instruments and Dave going full blast. It suddenly shifts into some quicker paced instrumentals and begins to fade out. The album picks back up with the song “Changing Clothes” which has the drummer Sam Strothers at his best.
The next song “Newly Restored” is where Dave’s vocals really shine. About half way through the song it slows its pacing down and Dave beings chanting “you’ll never be let go!”. The album speeds up big time for “The Fourragere” which is sure to be the highlight of the album for Botch fans. The song is fast, always changing, heavy, and has somewhat of a breakdown toward the end.
The final two songs are where Narrows switch it up big time. “Gypsy Kids” is a 6 minute ballad of slow guitars, meaningful lyrics, and a slow but hard hitting bass line. The song features a slower beat and has a very heavy These Arms Are Snake’s influence in the guitars thanks to Ryan Frederiksen. The song then fades into “Marquis Lights” which is a mostly instrumental song. It has a women and a man having a faint conversation in the background. It shifts into distorted noise at the last minute. The track feels out of place and unnecessary but it does supply you to reflect on the album as a whole.
All in all Narrows put forth a unique album that raises the bar for Post-Punk/Hardcore bands today. This side project was started as a way to get some things off of their chests and you can feel their frustration and rage throughout the album. I will say that this album is not for everyone but it will satisfy anyone wanting to hear more of Dave's voice. The only problem with the album is that the pacing may throw some people off and the last track doesn't have the power of the others. Rob Moran summed it up pretty well in an interview by saying “People should just take this for what it is...people you may or may not know playing music. It is a new band and people will either like it or not.”