Review Summary: Noise rock n’ roll.
The genre known as “noise rock” has always been full of challenging bands. It’s hosted a humongous variety of bands such as The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, White Suns, and Melt-Banana, all of whom sound completely different. I’ve always considered it to be a subgenre of punk rock due to this lack of caring about mainstream appeal and expressionist attitude. Despite starting in the 80s, the genre seems to be going stronger than ever nowadays. Plenty of bands are doing well in their respective scene; all sounding completely different from one another. One of this year’s greatest records in this genre so far is 68’s In Humor and Sadness
, and it has a sound that’s completely different from anything else I’ve heard so far.
White Suns is the one band I’ve heard from this year in the genre that has truly impressed me, but their sound is completely different than this. 68 seems to be borrowing just as much from Black Flag and the Jesus Lizard as Led Zeppelin, resulting in a swinging, dissonant piece of work. They’ve basically found a way to truly break away from the crowd of fellow noise rockers with this approach. Whereas some bands would be embarrassed by old rock musicians, 68 are acknowledging the influence. This is a very dynamic, dissonant, and challenging release that will impress anyone looking for raw passion and musicality; there’s not one genre they could simply fit under. The vocals are incredibly ripping, often jumping up to incredibly ripping screams from soft, eerie vocals in the vein of Fugazi. The instrumentation behind it is very rich and occasionally comforting, with profound intensity, yet occasionally soothing textures. The Fugazi influence could once again be attributed to the fact that this borrows a lot from Red Medicine
, whether it be the dynamic noisiness, the rough vocals, and the almost dub influence with sound effects and samples.
Enough Fugazi comparisons though, because this is original enough to not just be another noisy release. The element of rock n’ roll is something very few other bands have brought in, and it’s used to its full potential here. Very few songs sound completely similar to one another, despite retaining all these elements for each song. Certain songs will focus on the noisy side of their sound, while others will concentrate on the rock n’ roll side of things. The ones that are noisier are of course less relaxing, and the more traditionally rock n’ roll ones are a bit more easygoing, which keeps this from being an all-out noise orgy. The ones that get the best of both worlds seem to work best, but the album will sometimes fault in this department, occasionally sounding too similar or blending together.
This album is one of the most interesting releases of this year so far, and one that will probably stay relevant for years to come. This near perfect balance of swing and noise is something that few bands have gotten down this well, and it could be a masterpiece despite small flaws. Everything flows together quite nicely; nothing generally feels out of place or random, but the lack of diversity in some parts is a bit tedious. Sometimes it may seem to borrow too much from the aforementioned Red Medicine
, but at least they borrowed from something that was unique in and of itself. All in all, if you’re looking for atonal, noisy rock music, check this out without hesitation.