Saturday 24 November 2018

Where's My Naivety: Under Interview + Stop Being Naive Review

It feels good to be posting up my second interview/review piece in a week. This time I'm featuring a band that calls Lancashire, UK home and who's influence are as far reaching as King Crimson to Cattle Decapitation and Electric Wizard to Meshuggah. That band is Under and they've recently released their 2nd album "Stop Being Naive" via APF Records. Bassist/Vocalist Matt Franklin took some time to answer some questions for me, which you can read below.

Tell us about the history of Under. How did you form? Who’s in the band?

Matt Franklin - Bass and Vocals Under consists of myself, Simon Mayo on Guitar and Andy Preece on Drums - we all provide vocals for harmonies and our varied heavy styles. We formed about 4 years ago, after our old band broke up we decided to make some really dark, uncomfortable music.

Under’s music harnesses lots of different sounds, from doom to sludge to prog and even avant-garde. How did you all get into heavy music and what bands had the biggest effect on the music you play?

MF: We draw influences from all over the place, I personally got into heavy music through hardcore punk. These days we're into a lot of noise rock and avant garde electronic music. It would be hard to pin down any one particular band but Swans taught us to slow down!

You are part of the wider doom/sludge scene that exists over the Pennines. What is about Greater Manchester and Lancashire that’s made the genre so fertile?

MF: I honestly couldn't tell you. It makes for some good gigs though.

Across 2017 and 2018 so far, you’ve played with a lot bands. This is probably going to be a hard question to answer but who has been your favourite to play alongside and why?

MF: you're right, that is hard. We've played with Whores a couple of times now and Part Chimp who both blew me away. A favourite of mine would have to be Kurokuma though, we're good friends with those guys and have played with them a lot. At their worse they still slay pretty much any other band live.

Your new album “Stop Being Naive” is being released in October via APF Records. Can you shed any light on the album’s themes?

MF: There's nothing overtly political but there is a focus in some tracks on the negative ways that people interact with each other in attempt to further themselves. There are also tracks about depression and the feeling of being fundamentally damned as a species. There's also one about hallucinating ghosts due to sleep deprivation.

What gig/touring plans do you have in place following the album’s release?

MF: we're pretty quiet for gigs until the new year when we have a couple of tour plans to announce...

What albums/EPs are you currently listening too?

MF: Gold by Whores is getting a lot of play from me at the moment, I'm also enjoying Tuskar's record and Melted on the Inch by the lovely Boss Keloid.

Aside from music, what are your favourite horror movies?

MF: Brain Dead, the original Evil Dead Trilogy, The Exorcist, Antichrist... if you haven't already seen it then watch A Quiet Place. It's just spectacular

Labels: APF Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 26 Oct 2018


1. Malcontents
2. The Climb
3. Traitor's Gate
4. Big Joke
5. P. Irving
6. Grave Diggers
7. Happy
8. An Inch Of Sun
9. Circadian Driftwood

If you paid close attention to Under’s influences mentioned in the opening paragraph of this piece, you’ll notice that they’re both heavy and experimental. Heavy is definitely the right term to use for album opener Malcontents, with its doom-laden bass-heavy riffs and crawling vocals delivered by all three members of the band. This is a down-tempo song filled with misery. That being said, Under injects some psychedelic riffs into it later on, which means it goes from heavy to weird in the best possible way.

The Climb turns things on its head with vocal melodies that could easily be from a Queen or Fleetwood Mac album, were it not for the thunderous riffs that follow. There’s more experimental instrumentation and off-kilter rhythms present, while the vocals remain on the right side of truly unhinged. Traitor’s Gate sees Under getting more expansive again. Their slow doom/stoner is present alongside the harsher vocals; however, short introspective passages deliver small amounts of respite.

The stirring instrumental build-up on Big Joke gets louder and louder as more and more layers of percussion and guitars join the fray. You expect the vocals to kick in but they keep you waiting and the result is a glorious instrumental slab of Primus-like stoner, at least for its first half anyway. Things return to normal for its second half but the instrumentation remains. 

At this point, if you have the LP then you’ll be listening to Soup, which for some reason doesn’t appear on either the cd or digital versions on the record. I don’t know why bands do this, but I’m not going to criticise. Instead you get P. Irving as your fifth track. P. Irving is a great listen, as it mixes odd clean guitar work with vocals that flit between laid back singing and their characteristic multi-shouted attack. 

There’s an obvious rock n roll swagger about Grave Diggers with it’s groovy riffs and assured delivery. At this point it’s probably right to say that “Stop Being Naive” is an album that will demand multiple listens before it truly hits you, but it’s great to invest the time in. Talking of investing the time, Happy that follows is a great fast-paced number that fits the record well. I’m glad that Under took the time to add this to the record because it shows more of their versatility and a love for the faster forms of metal. 

Penultimate song An Inch Of Sun is kind of like a really creepy nursery rhyme to begin with, before Under ratchets up the heaviness once more and keeps it in low and slow territory. They remain weird for closer Circadian Driftwood, which seems to be slightly on the restrained side and that’s not really a word your could use to describe Under at all. It’s very cinematic and it tops things off perfectly. “Stop Being Naive” is a journey and one that’s well worth taking.

You can stream "Stop Being Naive" and buy it on all formats below:-

Thanks to Matt for taking part in this interview. Check out Under.

No comments:

Post a Comment