Review Summary: A spacey second direction for the Nottingham quartet
Such huge chasms of sound unravel on Out of the Angeles
that my immediate thought is, weirdly, Deathconciousness
. Of course, the similarities between Have a Nice Life and this predating release are superficial; both bands seem to cover a flurry of shoegaze, ambient and even post-rock within their own blend, and both in a somewhat accessible nature. In reality, though, it’s the raw noise that both albums join at: as listening to “I Don’t Love” from Deathconciousness
is walking into a six minute haze, listening to Amusement Parks on Fire’s sophomore effort in its entirety covers the same feeling ten times over.
It enters exactly that way – the opener is initially misleading where small, quaint ambiance meets amplifiers. “Out of Angeles” is scattered energy – electrifying guitar work swirls around the room and ultimately the only restraint for it becomes a sharp beating of the drums to separate intense verses from intense choruses.
The only thing that moves between the transitions with little flair is Michael Freerick’s vocals; they’re practically lost with whatever turn the album takes. In “A Star is Born” all is left of his voice is a soft moan, his words taken away by his band mates’ shoegaze creation, above his voice and above the brim. For “In Flight” his voice actually replicates the music; it’s a continuous hum with sly changes that can barely be heard and ultimately ask the question: is all this distortion really necessary" It’s probably been pointed out to the quartet the numerous acts they do in fact sound like: the weirdly tested accusations of Dinosaur Jr. influence on their most famous “Venus in Cancer” are pretty useless to the masses wishing for a perception of their sound, and easy comparisons to the giants of one of their prominent genres are hushed a little with Out of the Angeles
– their debut may have been something of a mix-up in this respect, but here the Loveless
inspiration is beyond relaxed.
This is because now, Amusement Parks on Fire have a little more clarity to their sound. They scale their ideas with a little more intelligence on their second bout; on their debut, tracks such as “23 Jewels” and “Venus in Cancer” were being forced to fit to one another, but were distant in musical theme and failed to make a clinical match. Here, the flow is subtler – the seamless movement from the distortion in blasting rocker “Blackout” to the swirling build up of “Await Lightning” – a post rock track – is truly seamless. This constant loud-quiet pattern encompasses the Nottingham quartet’s moves – “To The Shade” is again a more rock orientated number, followed somehow unnoticed by the eerie “So Mote it Be”. The group almost feed off unpredictability.
Supposing the old habit of melodically merging tracks together is the band’s way of making their album meditative, flowing art instead of singling out emphatic songs
, Amusement Parks on Fire have an experimental mind that is used for creating buzzy pop. Whether denied or not, the compositions that say nothing - mainly of a spacey, post-rock variety - are simply climaxes for the brilliant, foggy anthems. It’s best when they don’t need an introduction though, as “Out of the Angeles” and “A Star is Born” prove. Both have no direct initiation, and create all the more sparks for it.
In these aspects, Out of the Angeles
is a far cry from its older counterpart for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, where the band knew their limits on Amusement Parks on Fire
, Freerick hasn’t quite figured out what or where the last word should be for 2006. The album could end at the powerful “Await Lightning”, with enough shifts of layer to make a finale – but instead the band take another fifteen minutes to get packed up. Out of the Angeles
basically floats on for far longer than it needs to, and it’s probably wiser to return to rotating the rest of the album straight after the band are really done on this track. Bar its dead-end, the album is more than just a wall of noise – or perhaps it just needs it. “A Star is Born” certainly triumphs because of it – it’s the only way the band can jump in, crank every single instrument up and drown out Freerick – he’s murmuring I don’t want to talk loud
anyway, so nevermind.