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Noisepicker | ‘Peace Off’

What is it with bands undercutting their good work with silly titles?

I know I praised Pink Turds in Space on here recently, but once you saw the cover to ‘Greatest Shits’, you knew they weren’t fucking around.

Indeed, the contrast of the ultra serious political cover and the utterly stupid name was something of a talking point among listeners. So, in that sense, they’re excused.

Noisepicker, though? Oh my sides.

Unsure as to whether this was a fey indie pop record or a Mike Patton side project, I ploughed in, and discovered a quirky, hard rocking record.

‘No Man Lies Blameless’ starts off with a succession of power chords being hit in the vein of Swans. It builds to a mini crescendo, then becomes a mutated bluesy doom song (almost like Pepper era C.O.C doing a Melvins pastiche, certainly in the vocal department).

Speeding up in the third act furthers the desert rock/C.O.C comparison, and the staccato riffing sounds dry as a bone thanks to the production.

Great song. Yet, on first listen, you’re a little unconvinced by it despite it sounding so good. So you give it another listen to figure out what it was and that is when the song clicks.

‘So You’re Sick’ has an angrier vocal, but a riff that is the aural equivalent of swimming in molasses (in the best possible sense).

It’s a stop/start riff, but it feels out of sync with the (slightly) faster vocal, and the production layers on some distortion, but not in the traditional vein of sludge. This is heavy and groovy. Good work all around.

‘He Knew it Would All End in Tears’ has an odd beginning: hand claps, drunken sounding voices hailing and singer/guitarist Harry Armstrong doing a stellar Warren Hayes impression. When the guitar comes in, the power is overwhelming and feels like a tidal wave hitting the listener.

‘Burning the Witch’ has a great Unsane sounding riff and, combined with those deranged hillbilly type vocals, its no nonsense, flat out riffing make it the best song on the album.

Closer ‘I Stood By Her Grave’ alternates between mournful blues and heavy, almost apocalyptic desert rock/doom: all too appropriate for the last song, and sounds immense.

Marks get deducted for the cover (which is utterly bland and can potentially mis-sell the album, although I’m sure the Noisepicker lads would find that funny) and the title (I get that they’re not just your stereotypical doom heads or grizzled blues rockers, but I am sure they are capable of coming up with a better title than ‘Peace Off.’ Oh the lulz.)

If you were disappointed by the recent efforts from C.O.C, Wrong, and the Melvins, this could be the record for you. I can tell you, categorically, this will be a summer 2018 album for me.

2.9 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 4/06/18

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