Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Long Haul - Debtors


Earlier this year, I received an e-mail from Tangled Talk asking me to review two new releases. Those releases were the new records by Veils and The Long Haul. For some unknown reason, probably my own stupidity, I lost the e-mail with the press links on and couldn't retrieve them. So better late than never, I'm posting these reviews with the help of the streaming wonder that is Bandcamp.

So, The Long Haul are a Southampton based four piece hardcore band. Now I used to live not far way from Southampton, in Winchester and I know that the area has a pretty rad music scene and these guys certainly are a product of that.

This record, Debtors was released through Tangled Talk in February of this year, so it's been out a few months now.

Tracklist:-

1. Lenders
2. Holes In The Ground, Bliss In The Sky
3. Puppets and Wires
4. Blank Canvas
5. Debtors
6. Anhedonia (Live Bonus Track)

At this point, I'll mention that on the vinyl release there is a bonus track, but as I'm reviewing it straight from Bandcamp, it's not available, so you'll have to buy the record to hear it.

Debtors starts in a sedate fashion with the guitar lead instrumental Lenders.
Holes In The Ground, Bliss In The Skies is played with nonchalant abandon, which is kind of par for the course with bands south of London. Plenty of attitude! That said, they do through some pretty cool ideas into the mix, with some great riffs and forward thinking time signatures. True to form, there are no obtuse breakdowns to spoil things either.

Puppets And Wires sounds like it was recorded during a sweaty basement show. The sound is raw and it brings across a sense of energy that is lost from some releases of this ilk. I really like the melodic aspect to The Long Haul's music too, it reminds me of some of the old screamo bands I used to gush about to my mates when I was younger. There's also a great punk sensibility on show too in the music, which lightens the oppressive feeling of those caustic, emotive screams. There’s also a hint of LA Dispute at the end of Puppets And Wires too, which is no bad thing in my eyes.

TLH play a different strand of hardcore to that of many of their peers, which helps set them apart and brings more positive variety too the scene. The music is huge and has a real sense of honest atmosphere. I don't know why these guys have been under my radar for so long.

Blank Canvas plays host to that atmosphere I was talking about, with melody and quieter moments punctuated by those audible screams, where the lyrics can be heard as well as the feeling. There's a great sense of experimentation and variation on display, with some clever riffing adding different elements to TLH's sound as well.

The last song is the title track, Debtors, which is the most hardcore song on the record. It's fast and frenetic pace adding a real sense of urgency to the end of the record. It takes the urgency and ideas of the preceding songs and steps up a notch. There's still introspective moments, but not as we know them.

The bonus track is a live track called Anhedonia. It seems to embody what this band are about. It's pretty gnarly and from listening to the other tracks, this gives you a great impression of what TLH sound like in a live arena.

You can buy both digital and vinyl copies from Tangled Talk at http://thelonghauluk.bandcamp.com/album/debtors and http://store.tangledtalk.com/ respectively.

You can hear the whole record via The Long Haul's bandcamp page, but I've linked to it below so you can listen to it here.


The Long Haul are on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thelonghauluk and Tangled Talk reside at http://www.facebook.com/tangledtalk. Spread the word!

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