We gotta split! – Spökraket and The Road to Suicide release split 12” and play RADAR this Saturday.
The Danish music scene of let’s say…three years ago was such a mess for anyone that had trouble dealing with the real world, or even the fantasy world of party boy rock, pretty singer songwriters, stoner rock, bad hip-hop, and all flavors of metal with cookie monster singing. If you didn’t look great with an undercut, hadn’t gone to conservatory and bought a red keyboard, or couldn’t stomach writing a song about pondering the rain droplets beading on a train window, you just didn’t fit. Something had to give. It goes in cycles, therefore: the next generation of music must be better. Right?
Fast forward to half way through 2013 and we have two prime examples of such a movement, and on one record. Aarhus based quintet Spökraket, and Odense forged septet- The Road to Suicide have teamed up to release a ‘split 12 inch’ together. It’s a format that was fairly de-rigeur in the 90’s punk/hardcore/indie scene and recently revived by underground bands after the modern vinyl romance took hold of intellectual music fans in recent times again. The bands both have a similar yet differing taste for neo- Psych and Shoegaze, which is blatantly evident upon listening to the artifact itself.
Divided into three tracks from each respective band per side, the record as a whole is a dark stab to the otherwise polished indie pop and electro scene of today. It Drugs you, throws you in the back of a rusty van, drives you to a desert and lets nature do the rest while you have an out of body experience staring at you lifeless husk of a corpse as the sun descents over a hill. Far beyond simply gazing at your shoes or garnering your psyche with a colored synaesthetic adventure, listening to the album may leave you needing a friend to hold vigil over you for the evening while you stare at a candle and not blink for several hours. In summary: it’s a little dark, but you knew what you were getting into when one of the bands is called “the road to suicide” yeah?
Spökraket’s three numbers range greatly from one another. “Climb so high” is a droney homage possibly to the velvets or darker modern lovers pieces. In between is a piece entitled “interlude” which is an atonal ambient mood piece that is intertwined with angsty female vocalization. Finishing their side is “Repetition will save your life” which is a ‘Goth-kraut-ish’ laden piece that builds to a cacophony of jagged cold noise in its conclusion. The pieces are well thought out and achieve their purpose for the genre, however the recordings seem to be a bit muddy when you stream them via bandcamp, however with a vinyl copy on a decent stereo it may come alive. *according to the band, it was faithfully recorded on analogue equipment.
The Road to Suicide’s trio of offerings, involve a more retro approach with tracks like “Sleepers” and “Before Lexington” going to the Brian Jonestown Massacre well for a drink, and touches of 13th Floor Elevators and Black Angels territory with a healthy dose of Shoegaze via Ride. The vocals are drenched in reverb and buried in the mix, but that is par for the course for “psych” acts. Their final contribution is the sprawling “Looking for Water”, which is a very eastern infused trip with a sitar and Persian rug type vibe that breaches the ten minute mark before concluding.
So what have we leaned? The summer of psych, especially in Aarhus is well on the way. This may be the “city of smiles”, but don’t expect it to be all sunshine and lollipops when these gangs team up. As for the genre as a whole – one can be happy to see music trending towards a more authentic form of expression and feeling, rather than cookie cutter (or cookie monster?) repetition. The Psychedelic genre seems to be hanging around for a while, and unless by some miracle all mainstream Danish pop/rock and Hip-hop recordings are lost in some magnificent fire, or tornado of collective taste, you won’t be hearing it on the radio. You need to stop By RADAR on Saturday and hear some good music from the fringe, if only to pick up your copy of the record from the horse’s mouth. Entry is only 60 dkk, and beer can be bought for 25 dkk.
Info on the event https://www.facebook.com/events/557886704256532/?fref=ts
Both Bands will also be performing at this year’s first Aarhus Psych fest, also held at RADAR in October. Check Facebook and their website for more details at www.aarhuspsychfest.com