So the track this was meant to be written about has been succeeded by a glut of releases. And yes that’s a sign of my slowness to write, but it’s also a sign of something better; a band that is restless, creative, and relentlessly pumping out music. Since ‘New Flavours’ came out with its muscular shoegaze, worthy of any high end 2010’s indie flick, two EPs, one single and fist full of remixes have spilled their way out onto streamers. So I’m taking that as our happy excuse to make something like The Great Loud Bangs Wrap Up.
Let’s get the namechecks out first. There’s a cloth that’s been cut and so proudy stuck to cuffs that it’s tough go further without them. Sonic Youth, MBV, Beach House, Jesus and Mary Chain, Young Prisms, Slowdive, Swervedriver, and touches of Kraut electronics… all these stitches of sound fold on into the mesh that The Loud Bangs so easily weave together. And of those heavier, thicker and grunge-coloured textures, they get wrapped in the track that came first.
‘New Flavours’ is ripe in its drizzle and sheen with treble scatter drums and percussion. It’s bass-lite and breezy while synths drift the highs and vocals get sampled and airy. And yet still it’s as thick as songs come, all the layers giving weight to the track. It’s an impressive introduction, not just to the review, but as first track from ‘Introducing The Loud Bangs’.
Through the EP’s five tracks, that template of noise is deconstructed, reworked, rearranged. ‘Hazy Parade’ is ‘New Flavour’s perfect b-side, a blissful release and hangover. With urgency toned down and with room to ruminate, it’s a fine mist of psychedelic grunge that harks back to mid-90s escapism. From here we get lighter again, dabbling in Stereolab and early Boards of Canada electronics that wrench soundscapes from fuzzed repetitions. ‘Introduxions’ is a wondrously meandering song made of twitches and glimmers of tones. By now all muscle and body has been squeezed from these songs and just the air of the breath is what’s left. The effect is unexpected, and the track is an instant-made favourite.
Which brings us to ‘Something Left Unsaid’, the single between the EPs. Once more we contort into cool new directions, this time with Casio drum machine agro. Gone are the washes of noise, in come straight pulses and vocals. The track teeters dangerously on pop’s dirty edges with defined lifts and break-outs and structures. But don’t let the new cleanliness trick you. If The Loud Bangs were charting J&MC‘s trajectory, this would be ‘Automatic’s lean meat.
Then it’s head first and hard for the last. By ‘Highway Safety Films’, the final release of this wrap-up, The Loud Bangs are just happy to tease us, to show off that restless creativity. Over five tracks we lurch reckless and carefree through any sonic and sound that these writers see fit to throw at us. ‘Speed Enforced By Aircraft’ is Spaceman 3 lysergic complete with warped drones and soft voices. This could be anytime ’89-’96 getting taped from an old John Peel radio show. ‘Cars Kill’ takes us back to the heavyweight sound of that we came to know from ‘New Flavours’, but here it’s injected with tough pace and glitch as it punches its mark in their repertoire. If the EP ended here we’d be happy, but there’s more to explore and expel. In turn we run pressure-cooked to fulsome to fluid in a closing two tracks that show off an act in a stride. Said it twice and I’ll say it again… creative, relentless and restless.
The Loud Bangs have a beat on the pulse of a sound and twist those themes upwards and outwards. Ok, the backbone was given in the namechecks, but the spin out of templates and spirals of noise gives us something like a sonic adventure. As with all things that vary and wander, some parts will pique tastes and some wont. But the confident strut and the pure sense of play gives us plenty to soak up and savour.