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Monday, 15 March 2010

Review: Wilderness Survival - On Belay Belay On (Jan 1, 2010)

Wilderness Survival / see also Cosmo Speedway
On Belay Belay On (Worldwide - Jan 1, 2010)
Indie Pop/Electronica/Garage

On Belay Belay On feels more like a collection of demos and recordings as they come than a complete 'album' as such; but that's not to say that collections of recordings put together in this way don't deserve this title. In writing music, as far as I have experienced - working analytically from a general concept towards a creative output is the way that most bands seem to make their music. This is great if you're looking for a commercially appealing album - labels find no problems with branding their band and thus bringing the music towards the consumer - who buy up without a second thought. Equally, on the thematic side of the coin, re-occurring lyrical themes can colour an albums meaning and reinforce conceptual messages which the orchestrator is trying to get across through song - take The Antlers' Hospice, for example - Peter Silberman's 2009 masterpiece - dealing with losing a loved one to cancer. But this album is like neither of the above, nor does it pretend to be.

In fact, Wilderness Survival's fourth album seems to work the other way around. Recorded with just as much integrity, even if the themes aren't quite so depressive, On Belay Belay On sounds more like an album of musical-awareness and experimentation on a personal level than a conceptual masterpiece. The two members, Nick Grosvenor and Shane Reed, seem to harness their creativity by using it to accommodate ideas which most musicians would simply discard in context as not fitting in - and as a result, there are some surprisingly eclectic sections with some equally simple sections to match on this album.

Drawing mainly from garage rock, acoustic music, and subtle electronic sampling - the band sound objectively very close to London band The Invisible. Hushed vocals and rigid four-track structures give the music a very mechanical, almost emotionless feel, despite the huge range of textures and instruments which feature. Album opener I'm The One and We Cannot Lose remind explicitly of Freelance Whales, and some of the funky basslines (listen to Hierarchy) faintly echo classic rock artists and sequences of the 70s and 80s; Well Made Ads even brings us a bout of Dandy Warhols style psychedelic rock, reminiscent in particular of a more recent blog favourite The Shimmer. Wilderness Survival is not a collection of tracks to inspire your survival without food or water, but is definitely a collection to provide some easy listening as an alternative to your average evening with other indie bands on this kind of scene.

File Next To - Lackthereof / The Shimmer / The Invisible / Miniboone

Wilderness Survival - Well Made Ads (MP3)
Wilderness Survival - Byzantine Love (MP3)

Order On Belay Belay On on Itunes /

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