Full Length, Handmade Birds Records
October 1st, 2011
Someone a month back requested that if I could get my hands on this record to post it up, so here it is.
I've seen Crooked Necks labeled black metal. To be honest I've had no exposure to this act previous to Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't, but if my ears are still working I'd say they're far more on the shoegaze (or even post-rock) side of things than black metal. The vocals (when not clean and drenched in reverb) are definitely ugly and strangled so in that respect the comparison is accurate but in every other respect they're definitely shoegaze or some variation of post-punk. Perhaps when they were known as Frail the black metal influence was far more prevalent. They have released a much lauded split with the enigmatic experimenters Circle of Ouroborus so there's obviously a connection to the genre. I'm just ignorant I suppose.
Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't is this three piece's first full length album in any of their incarnations and it is certainly a bright, glistening and delicate example of heartfelt longing in aural form. All of the songs here are soft, frail and shine brilliantly as they peak and dip, only contrasted with the strained and ghostly creaking voices. Throughout the album the solid bass lines flow and groove beneath the siren-like vocals and riffs — it creates both a tragic and euphoric feeling.
While each song has a similar feel they approach it differently. This Place Is Violent leads with clean vocals that creep up on you while melodic tones ebb softly when everything gets louder and the shrieks emerge; this pattern repeats to great effect. Streets With Teeth has a similar vibe including more strong tremolo sections but they don't last long. Some tracks definitely give off a My Bloody Valentine feel for a moment
before settling into something more their own, as can be heard in
Hearts and Colors.
Every Step Seems Backwards begins with an almost southern/western feel when it suddenly turns dreamy with echoing murmurs, quiet bright notes, and barely-there drums. The blackened vocals emerge for a time here and there, and in the final third of the track noise swirls in the background as the fragile notes build; it becomes strangely nostalgic and eerie. Songs like this, Taste The Sounds and Lead Clouds conjure up fond memories the long lost summers of youth for me.
A purists nightmare one might say. Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't is another beautiful record that I missed in 2011, as I'm sure many others did as well. It's a shame they're not more well known. There's only 250 copies of this album in print and the 100 purple copies are long gone so get on top of this release — go to Handmade Birds.
DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare) (correct track list 23/03/2012)