NARROW HEAD- ’12th House Rock’

Narrow Head’s debut album, ‘Satisfaction’, was a brilliant, bright, exciting effort that twisted 90s grunge and shoegaze references into something contemporary and cool. ‘12th House Rock’ is… not that. From the opening squall of ‘Yer Song’ it feels like a cloud has come over the Texas outfit. They employ much of the same sonic ingredients as before, but their songs have darkened, thickened, become musclebound. ‘Delano Door’ is a relentless downer, ‘Hard to Swallow’ is aptly titled, and, while ‘Stuttering Stanley’ should shimmer and soar like a pop song, it drowns. Then there’s the introduction of odd nu-metal elements- a deck of vocal effects and an array of down tuned riffs. Some of the lowest ebbs here sound like Slipknot’s darkest dirges. The gloom feels timely, perhaps, but its jarring. The whole record sounds like its frowning. And it frowns for a while too. There’s 52 minutes of music here. Narrow Head have mistaken quantity for quality, misery and grime for maturity, and 20 layers of guitar tracks for depth. A shame.

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