newspaperflyhunting are aptly named. And no I don’t mean they are terrible like their name. Basically if you take each word, it makes sense on its own. Put it all together and it’s confusing. That’s the situation with newspaperflyhunting and their album “Wastelands.”
The basics of their sound is shoegaze and post rock. The problem is that the band don’t do a good job of blending the two. There will be a riff that is clear post rock, the title track for example but it never really kicks in. The band sound REALLY tentative when it comes to their own riffs. Elsewhere, the vocals are almost childlike which can be okay for shoegaze but on tracks like “A Question,” it just gets on my nerves a bit.
The album actually starts REALLY well with “We Used to Wander.” Sadly the song is too short. It could use a simple guitar solo and another round of the chorus. It really ends too soon. That might be the highlight of the album for me. The band seem determined not to keep on a steady path which is admirable but just confusing to the listener.
They even attempt a proggy, jazzy maneuver during the song “Sleep” but it sounds more like the band have no idea what they are doing. Why do bands think jazz can be sloppy? The big draw to the album is the massive closing track “Solaris” but the problem is that it sounds a bit too much like Porcupine Tree. I mean it sounds EXACTLY like “Anesthetize” to me.
And yes, newspaperflyhunting is another terrible band name. But there are some good moments on this album. It just seems like a band that really isn’t sure which direction to go in so they just go in EVERY direction. Maybe, newspaperflyhunting should settle on being a PT cover band.
1. We Used to Wander
3. A Question
4. Down the Steps
6. Equal to None
7. Hours Pass
The Enid have been around a very long time. Despite that, I actually have never really gotten around to listen to them. So going into this review, I had a bit of a quandary. Do I go back and familiarize myself? Since this new album isn’t exactly “new” and more importantly, since this lineup is made up of members who only date back to 2007, this is really a new band. It reminds me a bit of where the band Gong is at. Since I loved the new Gong album and treated it as a separate entity, I thought I would do that with “Resurgency.”
“Resurgency” is made up of re-worked versions of songs from the last 3 albums by the Enid. Musically I did enjoy most of the tracks, some more than others. The main problem through out the album is that the vocals are VERY weak. So much so that the band chose to use a vocoder a LOT which may have been an effort to mask said weak vocals. Sadly it just made it harder to listen to.
I don’t actually mind the use of a vocoder if used sparingly. Back when Cynic used it on the album “Focus,” I thought it was over used and that classic album did suffer to me because of it. The arrangements are slightly heavy on “Resurgency” but since The Enid are not a heavy band, it seems really odd to me. I do respect that the three current members (Jason Ducker, Dominic Tofield and Zach Bullock) want to point the direction for the future, I’m just not convinced that it’s a good direction.
As someone as I said who never followed The Enid, I guess I don’t have a big stake in the success of this album. But as someone who might have used this album to explore the band’s vast back catalog, this really doesn’t convince me that I should bother. In reading the band’s bio, perhaps they might have either convinced vocalist Joe Payne to stay or replaced him with a formal frontman. But that didn’t happen.
I assume the trio have the support of past members of The Enid so I do wish them the best of luck in keeping the band’s legacy alive. I think they didn’t exactly do the band any favors by reworking old songs with weak vocals and questionable arrangements. Perhaps recording fresh, new music with a new singer would have been more interesting.
1. Reborn in the Fire
2. Space Surfing
5. Terra Firma
6. Who Created Me
7. Witch Hunt
8. Someone Shall Rise for you