Sunday, February 14, 2010
SPCTV CS1: The N.E.C. B-Sides
The N.E.C. B-Sides (features artwork by Cyrus Shahmir and tinted red tape).
Release date: March 2, 2010
A1: Cruel Sea
A2: A Drone
A3: Firing Room
B1: Maniac Wonderlust
B4: So Many Apples Fall
B5: C Drones
B6: The Bells
B7: Mean Grievance
The N.E.C. split the difference between the ambient and heavy sides of the Atlanta psychedelic scene, driving their sound with textured noise and soul sensibilities throughout their catalog of releases from 2007 to present. Eclectic and engaging, on the first 'Spective release the group meander, drone, and layer their way through the back catalog of the recording sessions behind their previous releases (from Million Minks (2007) to Is (2010)).
On the A-side, the group rips through the extended jam "Cruel Sea," a song that features droning vocal passages amidst a literal sea of instrumentation -- drenched guitar, driving bass, and unrelenting drums. "A-Drone" and "Firing Room" explore the ground cleared by "Cruel Sea," one heavier, the other ambient, with particularly strong songwriting shifts in "Firing Room."
The journeys of the A-side are matched by a series of succinct statements on the B-side, with the band once again showing all of their eclectic sides -- if most bands are placed in boxes, the lack of borders with this group find them more suited for spheres. Cycles presented, that move through various themes, that return to previous moments only with the momentum and memories of the entire journey.
Specifically, the band showcases the skeletons of their pop sensibilities against the noise experiments from the first side. It quickly becomes apparent that the unrelenting fuzz and driving rhythms of the first side are never quite gone on the other side, but rather confined in a different manner, much like endless power building within the steel framework of a third rail of a train.
At the very end, the other-worldly peace of "Mean Grievance" carries the ear back to "Cruel Sea" once again, and on second listen, you'll find that those pop skeletons were not ever absent on the first side, simply serving as the invisible structure of an organism that takes on a life of its very own on the surface.
Other releases available:
Is (2010, [ove:evo] / Double Phantom)
Jovontaes / The N.E.C. (2009, [ove:evo] / Double Phantom)
"Only One You Know" EP (2008, [ove:evo] / Double Phantom)
Million Minks (2007, [ove:evo])