Submarine Cat (label)
17 August 2018 (released)
03 August 2018
Not an easy band to categorize. Much of this album falls under the ‘Americana’ juggernaut but when they turn up the heat this is a powerful piece of music that just seems to hit you from a lot of different directions.
They veer from the dark and heavy ‘Valentine’ with its heavy bass line and screaming guitars -tempered by Felix Bechtolsheimer’s softer vocals but always threatening to explode like a demented trucker - and through ‘Way To Mars’ which is must softer and more melodic, almost countryfied but still with a huge soundscape and deep tones. ‘And It Shows’ was a song Felix wrote some time back when he had just beaten drug addiction but was in a very dark and lonely place and unlike much of the rest of the album, it has a close and very personal ring to it, eschewing the cinematic and widescreen touch of the most up to date songs.
One of the songs that really hits the spot, for me, is the dark and hard ‘Blackout Fever’ but the undoubted monster track is ‘Leuven’ which pulls back stories that Felix’s grandparents told him of being a half-Jew in Nazi Germany and of a devastating train crash in Leuven Belgium in 1954. The feel of the track has symmetry with ‘The Wall’ period Pink Floyd and the addition of strings and a deathly slow pace draw you in and chill you to the bone.
The band are comprised of excellent musicians – Joe Hazell on lead guitar and vocals, Dani Ruiz Hernandez on keyboards and vocals, Charis Anderson on bass and vocals and Neil Findlay on drums – but it is Bechtolsheimer’s vocals that really set the band apart. He has a warm and deep vocal but there is an air of humour and the sense that he is never over-reaching.
This is an album that I know will be staying on my decks for weeks or months. It hits the emotive and the soulful edges of my psych. Simply superb.